Sep 24 2014

Educating a Child with Autism

shutterstock_186310157 Neither parenting nor teaching a child with autism is an easy task. Success in both areas relies on a collaborative effort between parents and special education teachers. An important part of this collaboration is communication.

Scheduled parent-teacher conferences, IEP meetings and progress reports are ways in which school systems periodically communicate with parents. However, due to the nature of autism spectrum disorders, it is more important to have an open communication line between educators and parents at all times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 22 2014

Two New Books from a Davis Facilitator

picture of Barbara Hoi

Barbara Hoi

Davis Facilitator Barbara Hoi of Sydney, Australia has recently published two books sure to delight parents and teachers.   The first book is called The Right Brain for the Right Time: Unlock the Dyslexic Potential & Transform from a Frustrated Reader to an Inspiring Leader.

The book relates stories from Barbara’s own practice, explores the many talents associated with dyslexia, and is full of grounded, practical advice and tips and suggestions.  The book is also laid out with extra space between paragraphs, which helps make it readable and easily accessible by all.

Barbara’s second book is called Nurturing the Secret Garden: A Guide to Reading Mastery, and is designed as a tool that can be used by parents or tutors to help guide and motivate children after a Davis Dyslexia Correction program.  In order to fully benefit from a Davis program, students need to make clay models of the letters and meanings of more than 200 trigger words – small, function words of language that do not have easily pictured meanings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 05 2014

Mommy, Are You Listening?

Why Putting Down Your Smartphone Could Be The Best Thing For Your Kids:

Technology has crept into every facet of our lives and we rely heavily on the convenience it offers. You notice it in restaurants or out at the park. It’s hard to miss the abundance of smartphones, with people frantically typing out text messages and snapping photos. We live in the midst of an epidemic of distracted living.


Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Children are caught in the crossfire of technology and communication. Parents who are constantly connected to their smartphone miss a lot of moments and conversations in their child’s life. A child is easily able to pick up on when parents aren’t really listening and internalize this unspoken message. Read the rest of this entry »

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Video Conference with a Davis Facilitator

Davis Facilitator Beth Shier explains options for kids with dyslexia and ADHD

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Jun 09 2014

Keep it positive!


Smrati Mehta

Smrati Mehta

“When I take a program with a child, almost 40% of my effort goes towards coaching the parents not to violate the child’s control and responsibility and how to stop being judgmental,” says Smrati Mehta, a Davis facilitator in Mumbai.  “With Davis training the one thing which is ingrained in us as the basic principal: let your client guide you. The child is enabled to explore his potential in the way he feels safe. This boosts the confidence levels of the child and he/ she feels so elated, with improved self-esteem and new found keys to learning.”

In an interview published online at, Smrati encourages parents to be open and respectful with their children, rather than judging or blaming them for their difficulties. A loving, supportive approach will help boost self-confidence and in turn help the child become more motivated and ready to take on responsibility for for their own learning.

To learn more, check these links:



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Apr 08 2014

Why some kids can’t spell and why spelling tests won’t help

By Misty Adoniou, University of Canberraimage from

The Conversation

A couple of years ago, early one morning, I received an SMS advising “resadents to stay indoors because of a nearby insadent”. I was shocked by the spelling, as much as the message. Surely, I thought, if it was a real message then the spelling would be correct.

Spelling matters. In a text message from a friend teeing up a night out “c u at 8” is fine – but in an emergency warning text from a government agency, I expect the spelling to be standard. But why is it that some people struggle with standard spelling?

Spelling remains the most relentlessly tested of all the literacy skills, but it is the least taught. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 18 2013

A Davis Facilitator Responds

Davis Facilitator Marcia Code

Davis Facilitator Marcia Code

The Ottawa Community News has recently published a response from Davis Facilitator Marcia Code to a series on dyslexia published a in September 2013.  Marcia wrote:

“I commend the author, Jennifer McIntosh for raising awareness regarding the prevalence of dyslexia and the struggle for schools to meet the demand for testing. This is reflected in the ” Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded schools 2013,” People for Education survey which states, “74% of elementary schools in eastern Ontario reported caps on waiting lists for psycho-educational testing .” (p.21) Even with a diagnosis and accommodations, many dyslexic students find school to be a daily challenge.

“I also identify with the author’s frustration for her son James, as I was in a similar position a few years ago. My son developed an aversion to reading and writing which began in Grade 1. As I had a background in teaching, I worked with him on phonics and drilled sight words on flashcards. We also stepped up our home reading practices but despite my best efforts, it did not resolve the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 01 2013

Word meaning and processing speed

least, meaning smallest


Dyslexia expert Maryanne Wolf says, “the more you know about a word, the faster you can read it.”  Now researchers have demonstrated that the brain recognizes words with concrete meanings faster than abstract words, and that words that are associated with large size are recognized faster than words signifying smallness.  For example, test subjects will respond faster to the word “elephant” than the word “mouse.”

The faster response for concrete words seems to be tied to their visuo-spatial impact: something that conjures up a mental image of something big also seems to be a stronger draw for mental attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep 27 2013

Extra time? Choose wisely….

A great article at Headstrong Nation provides a cautionary note about the common classroom accommodation of extra time being extended to dyslexic students.  Sometimes the accommodations aren’t well suited to the individual’s needs. They can become an excuse for the school to avoid providing more appropriate support,.  Some key points:

1. Dyslexic does not mean “slow”.   Sometimes the problem is with the teaching methods being used.  Rather than increase the allotted time to complete an inappropriate task, it may be better to improve the approach instead. “We dyslexics are able to draw the right conclusion quickly when we have the right path to the information.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep 23 2013

New Research: Small screen E-readers and dyslexia

Figure 2. Sample stimuli comparing paper and iPod conditions.

Figure 2. Sample stimuli comparing paper and iPod conditions.

A new study support the use of tablets and other e-reading devices for dyslexic high school students.  Researchers found that the students experienced significant reading gains in speed and comprehension when using an iPod.configured to display only a few words of text per line.  The students who had  the greatest difficulty with phoneme decoding or efficient sight word reading read more rapidly, and students with limited visual attention spans gained in comprehension. Based on previous eye tracking studies , the researchers believe that reading improvement improves because of the shorter lines of text.

Citation:   Schneps MH, Thomson JM, Chen C, Sonnert G, Pomplun M (2013) E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75634.


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Sep 16 2013

A Font for Dyslexia: To Pay, or Not to Pay?

font-arrayI’ve been seeing some buzz in social media about a specialized font for dyslexics, called Dyslexie.  I am 100% in favor of graphic designers considering the needs of dyslexics in their work. But I have two problems with the Dyslexie font:

1) It is a commercial font requiring users to pay a licensing fee on an annual basis;

2) It is very similar to a font that was developed years earlier with the needs of dyslexic users in mind, and which has always been distributed free for personal, academic, or charitable use.

So I thought I might be able to help by providing a direct comparison of the two font sets.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 31 2013

Study supports Davis Symbol Mastery

Image from

A recently published case study documents the progress of a fourth grade special education student who successfully used a modified form of Davis Symbol Mastery to improve spelling skills. The study subject, a 9-year-old boy named Dylynn, was diagnosed with dyslexia and had  first-grade level reading and spelling skills at the outset of the study.  He received support at school during a daily session with a student teacher, during which he typically studied and modeled one to three words.

With each new word, Dylynn first wrote the word in his journal. He then looked the word up in a dictionary and then wrote the word’s pronunciation and a definition. He would then draw a picture depicting the word’s meaning, followed by modeling the word in clay, spelling the word aloud, and repeating it’s meaning. Read the rest of this entry »

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