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Topic Archives: Learning Differences

My Journey to Miss Teen NJ: My Dyslexia Does Not Define Me

October 24, 2016

  By Isabelle Varga Isabelle is a freshman at Bentley University in Massachusetts. She was crowned Miss Teen NJ 2014 and wrote this blog while competing for Miss NJ Teen USA 2016 where she placed 2nd runner up. I met Isabelle through her mom, who signed her up for the Mindprint assessment. Isabelle is a kind, articulate and beautiful person. I would have never guessed how much she had struggled with learning and social issues. I was thrilled when she agreed to share her story. Isabelle is a great inspiration for all students to learn to accept themselves for who they are, develop self-confidence, and discover their own strengths. Please consider sharing Isabelle’s story of kindness. “Don’t let anyone or anything… Read More

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To Label or Not to Label

June 2, 2016

by Nancy Weinstein Using labels, particularly when discussing children, tends to create visceral reactions. Many rightly argue that no one can or should be defined by a single word, or placed in a category from which there is rarely an escape. Here’s one well-written exposition on the unfairness and detriment of defining  or labeling children by a single test. It can have negative consequences for struggling learners and gifted learners alike. Labels can have an ever-lasting negative impact on self-esteem and mindset. But there are others who embrace labels. They rightly claim that only when labels are properly given can challenges most effectively be addressed. Advocacy groups such as Say Dyslexia and Autism Speaks are notable examples. In the case of dyslexia, we know there are programs that have… Read More

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What If Your Biggest Weakness Became Your Strength?

February 24, 2016

By Mindprint Staff Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd turned to his bi-partisan panel debating over what outrageous remark might knock Trump out of contention. He posed the question, “What if everything we thought was his weakness is actually a strength?” And then he went to commercial. Not a bad move for live TV when you don’t want to answer the question. But for the rest of us, maybe it is an important question we want to answer: Can we turn our weaknesses into strengths? And if so, what does it take? Virgin CEO Richard Branson wrote in his 2012 book that his struggles with dyslexia became his greatest strength. It taught him how to be an efficient manager which he believes was crucial to his… Read More

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A cellphone for the holidays?

November 19, 2015

CAUTION: If your child is begging you for a cellphone and you aren’t quite ready to give in, you might not want your child to read the following post!  By Mindprint Staff Parents of elementary-aged children always ask about the “right age” for a cellphone. And all parents wonder about what rules to set. Given the enormous amount of negative publicity around adolescent cellphone use, much of it rightfully earned, the hesitancy around giving a child a cellphone is understandable. A quick scan through our collection of articles on media privacy & usage should provide you with all the cautionary advice you need. However, much less discussed are the potential benefits of having a cellphone. And these benefits can extend well beyond knowing when your child is… Read More

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Learn Something New Everyday: Cognitive March Madness

March 22, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff We’ve had an exciting week on this blog, with a team of bloggers joining me in our drive to “learn something new everyday.” Can you imagine if the energy and money that went into sports commentary were put towards educational programs, or if we had a 24-hour cable network with the pizzazz of ESPN devoted to the issues parents cope with in raising kids? In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what we’ve featured this week.   1. Benefits of Music for Children with Attention Issues This well-received post was written by Nicole Davies with follow-up commentary by a Mindprint Learning educator with years of experience teaching special education.       2. All… Read More

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It’s Time for Parents to Change the Conversation…

March 20, 2015

By Nancy Weinstein As parents we really need to stop saying: the teacher, the curriculum, the lesson, or the test is bad. Really, we’ve just got to stop. The reality is that most teachers are highly competent. Most curricula are well-vetted and well-written. Most administrators put a lot of care into selecting the materials they believe will work best for their students. So don’t immediately assume the worst of our educators. Instead, consider starting with the assumption that the instruction is probably fine, but for whatever reason it is not working well for your child. Believe me, I’m not suggesting that you allow your child to struggle or be bored without asking for accountability. Quite the contrary. I’m simply suggesting a shift… Read More

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Christine’s Hope

March 6, 2015

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Parents such as Jean and John Gianacaci are examples to many of us in how to love a child. They lost their daughter, Christine Gianacaci, in January 2010, when an earthquake destroyed the hotel she and fellow students from Lynn University were staying in the country of Haiti. Instead of looking at the trip as the end of their 22-year-old daughter’s life, they express her journey and ultimate death as a culmination and fulfillment of her calling, “…in her short life, Christine achieved something many of us never achieve; she found a purpose and a calling that gave her true happiness and purpose. She died doing what she was meant to do. She died doing what… Read More

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Know your Student: Abstract Reasoning

December 9, 2014

What is Abstract Reasoning? Abstract reasoning is the ability to draw inferences and analyze information involving objects, images, or numbers. It is also called complex reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, visual reasoning, or critical thinking. Abstract Reasoning in elementary school Realistically, students aren’t expected to use abstract reasoning very much in elementary school. Most of the time, teachers and parents give students clear directions with little room for guessing. Students with weaker abstract reasoning might be good at following step-by-step procedures like long division, even if they cannot explain why they are doing it. However, you might notice a student has difficulty seeing patterns with shapes or numbers or making a good guess about “what comes next”. This could suggest impending difficulties. Abstract Reasoning and higher order thinking You might see the first difficulties in… Read More

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Know your Child: Visual Motor Speed

December 9, 2014

Visual Motor Speed: Visual motor speed refers to a child’s ability to efficiently integrate visual and motor skills  to complete a task. Often weaknesses in this skill are related to fine motor or gross motor coordination difficulties. This skill is part of the general cognitive domain of speed. In the shoes of a child with a visual motor speed weakness Being a child whose weakest skill is visual motor speed can feel like an engine without enough grease. You have all the key parts you need to run, except you just can’t get moving. This can be a child who understands the material, knows what he wants to say, but can’t get his writing on paper quickly enough. Or she… Read More

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Verbal Reasoning Skills: The Most Important Academic Skill

December 9, 2014

What is Verbal Reasoning? Verbal reasoning is the ability to understand what you read or hear. It includes drawing inferences from limited information and developing an understanding of how it connects to other ideas. We use verbal reasoning in and out of school. Not surprisingly, it is the skill most closely tied to academic success. Why is Verbal Reasoning important? Verbal reasoning is important in just about everything a student does in school. Starting from kindergarten when students must listen and follow directions, students need a good command of language. Verbal demands increase as students are learning to read, and, of course, are critical in 3rd grade and beyond as they are most often expected to read to learn. As you might guess, verbal… Read More

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