An Unlikely Source of Inspiration

An Unlikely Source of Inspiration

While walking my dogs, I often listen to the radio. Tonight there was a surprising speaker on the TED Radio Hour, a show normally devoted to scientific breakthroughs and the nature of reality/the reality of nature. Tonight I listened to an episode about resilience, which I misheard at first as “Brazilians.” It turned out the Carnival image that jumped to my mind was not far off the experience of the speaker, Monica Lewinski. (Her segment starts at 34:40.) Ms. Lewinski, much older and wiser than the 24 year old intern in 1998 who made a big, and a very immature, mistake, described

What If the Accommodations Are Working?

What If the Accommodations Are Working?

A conundrum: a high school freshman earns a 2.5 GPA, with an A in math and PE, a B in tech skills, and a C in all the other classes that require reading: English, geography, religion and Spanish. The accommodations of extra time on all exams, particularly midterms and finals, as well as providing audiobooks through Learning Ally, are in place and utilized by the student. He is enrolled in the school’s Directed Study class, so he can have time to work on assignments and get help from a credentialed teacher. He’s also a hard worker: a sincerely determined, hard-working

Success Attributes: High IQ Not Required

Success Attributes: High IQ Not Required

Taking the perspective of the student sometimes requires putting oneself in a new situation. Personally, I have put myself as nearly in their shoes as I can by becoming a teacher at a high school. I’m new to the job, and they’re new to the school and the high school experience. I’m being asked to perform while not knowing the systems that are in place; so are the students. I expect there might be better ways to do certain things, but I feel like I need to put in more time and figure it out myself. I don’t like others

Hearing Symbols

Hearing Symbols

When parents think about their child’s experiences at school, they imagine them sitting quietly in front of the teacher, or at a desk, scanning a book or worksheet. They imagine that if everything is working right, the child has no obstacles to recognizing letters, or shapes or symbols or numbers; that the child understands how to turn pages of the book, and write the letters of his name, and answer a question in an appropriate way. Most parents simply can’t remember the process of figuring out how to “be” in a classroom, any more than they can remember what it was like

Having Enough Gas

Having Enough Gas

“Gas” usually produces giggles. We might be talking politely about farts. We might be talking about air, oxygen, bubbles, carbonation or steam. We’re talking about that invisible stuff which surrounds us, which is indispensible to us, yet we don’t even notice it. Recently, my son and I took up scuba diving. You must take a training course to learn how to use the equipment necessary to enter into an alternate reality. This includes reading gauges, compasses and computers, interpreting them, and sometimes changing your behavior based on their data. To enjoy this alternate reality, where you can float, fly, and breathe underwater, you must

The Secret of Happiness

Hmm, this wasn’t entirely mindful, but I was preparing a meal and I put on the radio. The show happened to be on happiness, and the scientific bases of happiness. The biggest contributor to being happy was being “present”, to be doing what you “should” be doing. The opposite of happy was to be doing one thing but thinking of something else. Being mindful generates a state of happiness… not when your mind is wandering. Which sounds exactly like the mindfulness practice for controlling ADHD behaviors and emotions. All you need to do when you are worrying or feeling frantic

Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD

Does it sound crazy to ask someone with ADHD to practice … focusing on one thing? For a relatively long time? Yes, it is counterintuitive. However, there is strong evidence that this simple activity works to reduce the side effects from ADHD, and that it can be learned by almost anyone, including younger children. The important take-away is that it is a skill that can be used, and produced on demand in a stressful situation, to improve the outcomes of everyday frustrations. Look at the picture on top of the page: it is full of details, and it’s hard to

Flowing Thoughts, or the Curse of Cursive

My concern for all kids is whether or not they are developing a “flow” in their thinking and expression of their thoughts. Personally, I think there is a pervasive shift in the way we are communicating (a lot more oral communication and visual communication, and a lot less written). Are schools stuck in the old ways? But… how are we going to communicate / transmit ideas without being fluent written communicators? I don’t see how we can have logical arguments without being able to point to specific ideas or thoughts — it’s hard to know exactly what someone said or

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and chocolate

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and chocolate Stress. It happens to everyone, but it happens every day to someone with ADHD, particularly a child or adolescent. Somehow there is something that they do “wrong,” sometimes just by being thoughtless. Of course, a better description would be “thought-free” — his or her thoughts were not on what someone else was thinking, or might do, or might think. Nonetheless, it is considered rude, and the ADHD sufferer gets told that he is wrong just for being the way he is. The cause of just being born with ADHD, or just

1,000 most (81) commonly (423) used (149) words (250) in (6) English (524)

1,000 most (81) commonly (423) used (149) words (250) in (6) English (524) When writing, one way to check to see if a student’s work contains some original words is to see if they are NOT on this list: http://www.insightin.com/esl/1000.php Truthfully, this brings up a deeper issue of personal originality. People who perceive themselves as “different from the mainstream” usually are (until they hit 35 years old). Many people find their identity in being different and unconventional. Some people with disabilities are so well-adjusted that they demand to be accepted as they are. I have been so impressed with the “Don’t