Archive for 'Books'

Feb 09

Recently Kathy Johnson author, speaker and educational consultant, ( kjohnson@pyramidofpotential.com,)  wrote this book review of my book, The Other Side of Dyslexia.  I feel her comments caught the spirit of this book. The review follows:

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Ann was a director of the opera-musical theater program at the National Endowment for the Arts when she discovered she had Dyslexia. She writes in this book about her journey of self-discovery to being able to read.

When I first opened the book, I was delighted by what I saw inside – unlike any other book, each page has colorful simple pictures with the words below. It conveys what she has in her mind: pictures and emotions; less words. My immediate thought was how authentic it is. To get into the mind of a person with learning disabilities, you must go beyond just words, as words have different meanings and understandings.  Although in the main part of the book, Ann does not specifically describe the trainings and therapies that she has used to help her, she references them in the end. Anyone who would like to follow a similar path can.

The journey included many therapies that I have used as well, including Brain Gym, Energy Medicine, eye exercises and watching diet. Yet for her, the emotional and spiritual journey helped unlock the physical stress that held her back.  Today she is able to use words much better for both her reading and writing.

This book was written primarily for dyslexics so that they can read about someone like them. She gives hints as to how to read it, and the print is big so that people can have an easier time with the words. It is also for the non-dyslexic to understand what can happen in the mind and body of another human. We are after all, unique. One thing I have learned is that we don’t know how other people see, hear or feel unless they tell us. Ann does an excellent job of that!

I highly recommend this book to people who have learning disabilities as well as those who teach, care for, and love people with LD. Enjoy!

Written by Kathy Johnson, [kjohnson@pyramidofpotential.com]

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Feb 02

Kathy Johnson’s book The Roadmap from Learning Disabilities to Success is simple in form, short in length and long in information. 

Being challenged by both dyslexia and hpyerlexia I am not overly fond of reading.  I do it, I can do it, but you don’t often find me choosing it.  The format of Kathy’s book made reading the content easy.  It’s as though she chose to present it for learning challenged adults reading skills. Kathy’s book succinctly describes success stories and provides a checklist for parents to consider. 

I find it interesting that she has made the links that I made as I progressed through my process of overcoming the negatives of dyslexia and many years later hyperlexia.  At the outset she provides the order and importance of various approaches using a Pyramid of Potential.  The base of the pyramid is Mind and Body.  I too, through my own experimentation and with advice of others started my healing with these two topics.

I was particularly excited to see how effective her work is with patient’s reflexes – those that normally develop while the baby is in utero and the first three years of life.  I came across this technique shortly after I learned (six years ago) that I have hyperlexia.  I had already taken the Lindamood-Bell verbalizing and visualizing process but it wasn’t until after a year a half of correcting my many reflexes that were under-developed did I find much more peace around the hyperlexia.  I strongly support a parent having a child with learning challenges checked for the development of the child’s reflexes. 

Kathy’s Roadmap also gives good explanations of eye issues and has several useful suggestions on how to better eye problems.  I loved her description of the use of a Brain Gym technique – lazy eights – a technique I have frequently implemented.  

As you can see I relate to Kathy’s work because her tools are many of the ones I have been fortunate to come across.  The uniqueness of Kathy is that she has integrated them together and created a broad spectrum of skills to help her clients.  It is this approach that she describes in her book, The Roadmap from Learning Disabilities to Success. I would recommend this book to any parent whose child has learning challenges.  

To learn more go to:  www.PyramidofPotential.com, PO Box 103, Burnt Hills, NY 12027, telephone: 518 585 2007

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Jan 22

How to Detect Developmental Delay and What to Do Next  by Mary Mountstephen has been reviewed and highly recommended by Kathy Johnson: www.pyramidofpotential.com/blog     

Ms. Johnson comments:  I would suggest this book for anyone who is looking for answers as to why an individual struggles in school. Ms. Mountstephen uses her background as the leader of a large specialist support center at a major independent school and as an educational and neurodevelopmental delay specialist is private practice to put this book together. She also consults internationally to schools and organizations from her home in the UK, giving her the experience to understand all she writes in this book. 

The book has two parts: Child Development and Signs of Delay in Part 1 and Interventions for Home and School in Part 2. Part 1 includes factors affecting early development including pregnancy and child development, genetic and environmental factors, and the role of primitive and postural reflexes. The chapter on what to expect in the early years is helpful in determining if development was typical or delayed by reading through lists of milestones. Next Ms. Mounstephen writes about special education and specific diagnoses, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADD/ADHD.  

Part 2 is all about the “What to do Next” in the title. She looks at movement, such as neurodevelopmental programs, balance, handwriting, and using a multi-sensory approach to classroom and home work. 

The chapter on Vision, Visual Processing and Learning includes information such as why vision issues are frequently not found, strategies for children with visual problems, vision therapy, a vision assessment checklist, and the link between primitive and postural reflexes and visual problems. Indeed this is a thorough and important chapter! 

Children receive informational input in school using two primary modes: vision and hearing. So another wonderful chapter is on Hearing, Auditory Processing and Learning. She discuses the importance of these skills, language development, causes and symptoms of auditory processing problems, dealing with these issues in the classroom, speech and language therapy, and finally listening therapy programs. 

The final chapter is on how a psychologist can help, written by Elvie Brown, and educational psychologist. In it she about her role, why see an educational psychologist, and information about a psychological assessment. Sample assessments help a parent know what to expect. 

Finally, the Appendices include forms to aid a parent as they help their child, a brochure about Central Auditory Processing Disorder, and many resources.

 I recommend this book highly for parents and professionals alike, as they seek to change children’s lives from struggling to learn to being successful in school. I was able to purchase it off Amazon.com.

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Jul 07

Kathy Johnson, who has a blog, www.pyramidofpotential.com/blog , recently posted a blog on this book:  Disconnected Kids:  by Robert Melillo. It sounds interesting and I thought my readers might like to explore .  Here is what she says:

Ms. Johnson states she hasn’t  read the entire book cover to cover, but is impressed with what she has seen so far. Dr. Melillo uses three basic pathways to helping children with various neurological disorders, using his Brain Balance program. He focuses on nutrition, sensory-motor improvements, and hemispheric balance. Part 1 is about his theories, brain development, and general information about identifying the cause of “Functional Disconnection Syndrome” or FDS as he calls it.

Part 2 is where I was impressed. There are descriptions of  extensive testing routines followed by exact directions as to how to work at home with your child to correct what was identified. There are exercises taken from vision therapy, listening therapy, as well as vestibular, tactile, and aerobic exercises. There are academic exercises for reading, comprehension, and math. Finally, there is a long chapter on nutrition, something I consider at the heart of brain health. Many suggestions are given, as well as foods that essential to a healthy brain diet. Not surprisingly, he suggests testing for sensitivities, altering the diet as necessary, and supplementing with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and digestive enzymes.

I was able to get this book from my local library, so you could “check it out” too if you want, without spending the $15.95. But it’s worth the investment if you want to see other programs that seem to be working well for those with learning disabilities.

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Jan 21

Welcome.

This blog provides a list of books that specialists in dyslexia, hyperlexia child development and other relevent  topics have recommended or have written.  I am continually adding titles to this list as I find them on-line or when attending talks.  So, do revisit this blog. While I have not read all those listed I do include a brief description of each book.  Hope this information is helpful to you.

Integration of Infant Dynamic and Postural Reflex Patterns: Svetlana Masgutova. This title may sound intimidating.  However, it is worth spending time  with this information.  About four years ago I discovered the work of Svetlana and her associates. Through her we unearthed the fact that some of my reflexes (like crawling on my stomach) were not properly developed when I was in utero or during the first three years of my life.  Svetlana Masgutova’s  Neuro-Sensory-Motor and Reflex Integration Method for Children and Adults increased my ability to both read and comprehend. I strongly recommend that anyone with a dyslexic, hyperlexic, autistic, aspergers child research this approach. Changes occur. And, I recommend that this be one of the first steps to take with a dyslexic/hyperlexic.  I can say that having my reflexes now functioning at full capacity changes much for me in my ability to read and comprehend.

Smart Moves: by Carla Hannaford. I have used many of the approaches that Ms. Hannaford recommends with very positive results. Some of them are:

  • Dietary awareness, drink enough water, less sugar intake, etc
  • Help the brain to perceive events less stressful by doing physical exercises
  • Create a less stressful environment for people with learning difficulties

Brain Gym: Paul E. Dennison (a dyslexic) and Gail E. Dennison. This book outlines in easy to understand form activities for Whole Brain Learning. This approach was very helpful to me in mastering some of my dyslexic characteristics.

Visualizing and Verbalizing: For Language Comprehension and Thinking: Nanci Bell. Ms. Bell is one of the founders of Lindamood Bell. This company has an excellent assessment process to determine dyslexia and hyperlexia as well as programs to improve dyslexic and hyperlexic conditions. I took the Visualizing and Verbalizing course – seven weeks, five days a week, four hours a day and moved my comprehension skills from Grade Three level to Grade Nine.  This outfit is very professional.

Overcoming Dyslexia: by Sally Shaywitz.   This book has been out for sometime and is considered an important resource by most.  Most of the findings are based on research.  I have heard Dr. Shaywitz speak several times. She has followed several dyslexics from a young age to maturity.  Her focus is very scientific.

The Schwab Learning Website,  http://www.schwabfoundation.org, lists six books that a parent, Darla Hatton, thinks is most useful for others suddenly faced with the challenges of dyslexia, be they a parent, teacher or dyslexic.

The Schwab Learning Center offers this list:

Parenting a Struggling Reader: by Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats. Their book explains how school systems work along with practical guidance

Wrightslaw: from Emotions to Advocay: by Pam Wright and Pete Wright.  I haven’t read the book but from experience with my dyslexia and hyperlexia, there is much credence in giving focus to emotional issues as part of the process of handling both conditions towards a positive result.

One Word at a Time: by Linda G. Tessler.   A dyslexic’s story:  She’s a PHD and dyslexic.

Dyslexia Wonders: by Jennifer Smith.  It’s a child’s point of view.

Instructions and Assessment for Struggling Writers: edited by Gary A. Troia. It describes several best practices for teaching writing.

Other sources offers these book on dyslexia:

Dyslexia in the Workplace : Diana Bartlett, Sylvia Moody (Paperback, 2005)

Dyslexia for Dummies:  World of Dyslexia says:  this books indicates how to spot the signs and get the proper treatment. This friendly guide shows parents how to identify the signs of dyslexia, choose among dyslexia treatment options, and find an individualized education program for their child. They’ll also find practical tips on assisting with homework, helping a child build self-esteem, and easing the transition to high school and college.

100 Ideas for Supporting Children with Dyslexia : Per World of Dyslexia: this book provides one hundred excellent techniques to support the learning development of dyslexic children. This handy paperback guide includes lists that range from identifying the needs of individual pupils and their learning styles to developing pupils reading, writing, numeric and communication skills

How to Reach and Teach Children and Teens with Dyslexia: World of Dyslexia says this book is a comprehensive, practical resource giving educators at all levels essential information, techniques, and tools for understanding dyslexia and adapting teaching methods in all subject areas. Over 50 full-page activity sheets that can be photocopied for immediate use and interviews with students and adults who have had personal experience with dyslexia. Organized into twenty sections, information covers everything from ten principles of instruction to teaching reading, handwriting, spelling, writing, math, everyday skills, and even covers the adult with dyslexia.
Patricia Oetter, an OT Therapist, during a lecture at PEN (Parents Education Network in San Francisco) re-iterated several times her concern that boys in our school systems are lacking experiences they need for development.  The reason? It seems the schools learning systems are focused on a girl’s point of view.  As a result the experience of risk is diminished, an important component for young boy’s growth. She recommended three books that are helpful in raising boys:

Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph and Paul Stanish

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and  Michael Thompson,

The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their  Problems at School, and     What Parents and Educators Must Do, by Peg Tyre

Primal Teen by Barbara Strauch  At a recent PEN speaker’s panel this book was highly recommended by a Resource Specialist.

Update as of 9.10.  At a recent PEN Speaker Series discussion, the speaker Claudia Koocheck,  Head of School at Charles Armstrong, in Belmont, CA recommended these two books for parents of children with learning challenges. 

  1. Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, (2006), Random House Publishing Group, New York.   It describes how kids perceive themselves. 
  2. Brooks, Robert and Goldstein, Sam (2003), The Power of Resilience:  Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.  New York Contemporary Books/McGraw Hill.

 Update:  11.10   I attend a talk by Katherine Ellison whose new book, Buzz, has just been published by Voice, Hyperion, New York. The topic:  Attention Deficit Disorder.  I highly recommend it.  There are excellent explanations of the challenges and useful solutions she discovered with her son who is ADD.  Ms. Ellison is also ADD.

Dr. Daniel Korb, a developmental and behavioral pediatrics specialist recomends books by Carol Gray.  These social story books describe a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format. http://www.thegraycenter.org.

Finally, I am continuing to evolve this site, including incorporating dyslexic and/or hyperlexic information that others have to share.  Yes, I am looking for your ideas.  Send them via the Comments below.

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Information on this blog is intended to complement, not replace, the advice of your own physician or health care professional.

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Jan 21

You have come upon a blog discussing tools to help dyslexics and hyperlexics.

Today I read about a recent book, Dyslexia in the Digital Age, which focuses on ways that technology can be helpful to dyslexics,  both children and adults.

Speaking for myself, using a computer/internet etc has been very supportive in giving me freedom to learn new ideas quicker — mostly because I seem to be able to image words faster working on the computer or reading the information on-line.  And, when I can’t image, Google is there. I put in the word that is stumping me and I get a definition.  This enables me to get an image (usually) and then the word makes sense.

This new book, Dyslexia in the Digital Age, is written by Ian Smythe who’s a dyslexia consultant working on specific learning difficulties in different language and cultural environments.  It seems the book is organized in a methodical way and has the potential of being very useful for dyslexics/hyperlexics as well as parents and teacher.  Here’s the table of contents:

1 Definition of Dyslexia
2 Testing
3 Assistive Hardware
4 Assistive Software
5 Literacy Learning Software
6 The User Interface
7 E-learning and Knowledge Assessment
8 Multilingualism
9 Conclusion: Spreading the word
It’s available in hardback only.  Paperback will be out in May, 2010.  I went on Amazon and they are selling the book in the US for $26.32.

Have any of you read this book yet?  Please comment if you have.

For more information relevant to this book, go to:
Ibis Creative Consultants – http://www.ibisconsultants.info
Techo Dys – http://technodys.blogspot.com/

Finally, I will continue to evolve this site, including incorporating dyslexic and/or hyperlexic information that others have to share.  Yes, I am looking for your ideas.  Send them via the Comments below.

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Information on this blog is intended to complement, not replace, the advice of your own physician or health care professional?

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