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Test for Dyslexia: 37 Common Traits – Term Life

Most dyslexics will exhibit about 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent thing about dyslexics is their inconsistency.

General

Dyslexic children and adults can become avid and enthusiastic readers when given learning tools that fit their creative learning style.
  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
  • Labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” or “behavior problem.”
  • Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting.
  • High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.
  • Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
  • Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
  • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems “hyper” or “daydreamer.”
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

Vision, Reading, and Spelling

  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.
  • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
  • Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
  • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
  • Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
  • Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
  • Spells phonetically and inconsistently.

Hearing and Speech

  • Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.

Writing and Motor Skills

  • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible.
  • Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness.
  • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.

Math and Time Management

  • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time.
  • Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks; knows answers, but can’t do it on paper.
  • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.
  • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math.

Memory and Cognition

  • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
  • Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
  • Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).

Behavior, Health, Development and Personality

  • Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
  • Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet.
  • Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, tying shoes).
  • Prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products.
  • Can be an extra deep or light sleeper; bedwetting beyond appropriate age.
  • Unusually high or low tolerance for pain.
  • Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.
  • Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

50 Interesting Facts About Dyslexia That You May Not Know

What is Dyslexia?

  • Dyslexia is a learning disability that includes difficulty in the use and processing of linguistic and symbolic codes, alphabetic letters representing speech sounds or numeric representing numbers or quantities.
  • The first description of dyslexia appeared in 1896 by Dr. W. Pringle Morgan in Sussex, England, this is what he wrote: “Percy F.,… aged 14,… has always been a bright and intelligent boy, quick at games, and in no way inferior to others of his age. His great difficulty has been—and is now—his inability to learn to read.”
  • The word dyslexia is derived from the Greek word ‘dys’ (meaning poor or inadequate) plus ‘lexis’ (words or language). Implying only an inadequacy in language tasks.
  • Dyslexia is not the result of neurological damage, but the product of neurological development.
  • Dyslexia varies from mild to severe.
  • Dyslexia does not reflect an overall defect in language, but, rather, a localized weakness within the phonologic module of the brain. This module is the functional part of the brain where the sounds of language are put together to form words and where words are broken down into sounds.
  • Dyslexia is a unique mindset that is often gifted and productive but learns differently than other minds.

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Prevalence of Dyslexia

  • Dyslexia affects nearly 10% of the population.
  • Dyslexia is by far the most common learning disability.
  • According to NIH research, of those who are placed in special education for a learning disability, around 80% of those have dyslexia.
  • A study at Yale found that the numbers of girls and boys who have dyslexia are about the same.
  • Dyslexia commonly runs in families.
  • Children don’t outgrow dyslexia.
  • Some of the most brilliant minds of our time have been known to have dyslexia: Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and John Lennon, to mention only a few.
  • There are people with dyslexia in many types of highly respected careers such as: Tom Cruise, Danny Glover, Cher, Magic Johnson, Carl Lewis, Bruce Jenner, and General George Patton.
  • “Given the high prevalence of reading difficulties, it is more likely for your child to have a reading problem than almost any other physical problem for which he is being checked.” – Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.

Dyslexic Gifts

  • Dyslexics often enjoy and excel at solving puzzles.
  • Dyslexics have excellent comprehension of the stories read or told them.
  • Most dyslexics often have a better sense of spatial relationships and better use of their right brain.
  • Dyslexics have excellent thinking skills in the areas of conceptualization, reason, imagination, and abstraction.
  • Dyslexics have a strong ability to see concepts with a “big picture” perspective.
  • Dyslexics are adept to excellence in areas not dependent on reading.
  • Dyslexics typically have a large spoken vocabulary for their age.
  • Dyslexics tend to be more curious, creative, and intuitive than average.
  • Dyslexics’ special mode of thought easily produces the gift of mastery.
  • Dyslexia is not related to low intelligence.

Symptoms of Dyslexia

  • Dyslexia can affect spoken language, written language and language comprehension.
  • Dyslexics have trouble breaking down unfamiliar words into letter-sound segments. As a result, reading is slow and filled with errors.
  • Dyslexics require extra time and effort to process language information.
  • Dyslexics often need to be taught to look at words linearly, left-to-right.
  • Dyslexics have difficulty in learning (and remembering) the names of letters.
  • Dyslexics often fail to understand that words come apart; for example, that “batboy” can be pulled apart into “bat” and “boy” and, later on, that the word “bat” can be broken down still further and sounded out as ‘b’ ‘aaa’ ‘t’
  • Dyslexics often have a difficult time learning to associate letters with sounds, such as being unable to connect the letter b with the /b/ sound.
  • Dyslexics will sometimes make reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters; for example, the word “big” is read as “goat.”
  • Dyslexics often struggle to read small “sight” words such as “that,” “an,” “in.”
  • Dyslexics often substitute words with the same meaning for words in the text they can’t pronounce, such as “car” for “automobile.”
  • Dyslexics often omit parts of words when reading.
  • Dyslexics often have difficulty remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, and random lists.
  • Dyslexics often have an extreme difficulty learning a foreign language.

Dyslexia Research Findings

  • Despite popular belief, dyslexics do not see letters backwards. They often have difficulty naming and writing letters, and in fact, writing letters backwards is something that many kids do when they’re first learning to write, whether they have dyslexia or not.
  • Many individuals with dyslexia have proven to see things three dimensionally, which can effect how they look at words.
  • Often dyslexics are thought to be reading backwards because of what is called the “Recency Effect.” In which they pronounce the word using the most recent sound first, like “tap” for “pat.”
  • Research has shown strong correlations between dyslexia symptoms and deficits in short-term memory and executive functioning.
  • Dr. Glenda Thorne stated, “Dyslexia is not a deficit in the visual processing system; however, it is a language processing problem. The hallmark characteristic of dyslexia is a breakdown in what is called phoneme awareness.”
  • Yale researchers have shown when people with dyslexia try to read the front part of the brain is over-stimulated while crucial portions in the center and back are under-stimulated.

Solutions for Dyslexia

  • Research has proven that explicit, systematic phonics can actually help ‘rewire’ the brain and help dyslexic students learn to read.
  • The use of the Orton-Gillingham approach can significantly compensate for the language learning and processing problems that arise from dyslexia.
  • Dyslexics score significantly higher on test when they are given additional time and given the test orally.
  • Dyslexics do best when directions are two steps or fewer. They often get confused and frustrated with a long list of “to dos” or directions.
  • The more important, consistent, frequent, multi-sensory, and emotionally reinforcing information is presented, the easier and more enduring language learning becomes for dyslexics.
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Mental Health In Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions Of Students – Term Life

Part One in an NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.

You might call it a silent epidemic.

Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.

So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.

And yet most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won’t get them.

Whether treated or not, the children do go to school. And the problems they face can tie into major problems found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out.

Experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. Yet it’s a role many schools are not prepared for.

Educators face the simple fact that, often because of a lack of resources, there just aren’t enough people to tackle the job. And the ones who are working on it are often drowning in huge caseloads. Kids in need can fall through the cracks.

“No one ever asked me”

Katie is one of those kids.

She’s 18 now. Back when she was 8, she had to transfer to a different school in Prince George’s County, Md., in the middle of the year.

“At recess, I didn’t have friends to play with,” she recalls. “I would make an excuse to stay inside with the teachers and finish extra work or do extra credit.”

We’re not using Katie’s last name to protect her privacy. She’s been diagnosed with bulimia and depression.

She says that in the span of a few months, she went from honor roll to failing. She put on weight; other kids called her “fat.” She began cutting herself with a razor every day. And she missed a ton of school.

“I felt like every single day was a bad day,” she says. “I felt like nobody wanted to help me.”

Katie says teachers acted like she didn’t care about her schoolwork. “I was so invisible to them.”

Every year of high school, she says, was “horrible.” She told her therapist she wanted to die and was admitted into the hospital.

During all this time, she says, not a single principal or teacher or counselor ever asked her one simple question: “What’s wrong?”

If someone had asked, she says, she would have told them.

Who should have asked?

We talked to educators, advocates, teachers and parents across the country. Here’s what they say a comprehensive approach to mental health and education would look like.

The family

The role: The first place to spot trouble is in the home, whether that trouble is substance abuse, slipping grades or a child who sleeps too much. Adults at home — parents, siblings, other relatives — are often the first to notice something going on.

The reality: Many families do not know what to look for. Sometimes a serious problem can be overlooked as “just a phase.” But it’s those sudden changes — angry outbursts, declining grades, changes in sleeping or eating — that can signal problems. When something unusual crops up, families can keep in close touch with the school.

The teacher

The role: During the week, many students see their teachers even more than their own families. Teachers are in a prime spot to notice changes in behavior. They read essays, see how students relate with other kids and notice when they aren’t paying attention.

The reality: Teachers already have a ton on their plates. They’re pressured to get test scores up, on top of preparing lessons and grading assignments. Plus, many teachers receive minimal training in mental health issues. But when they do see something concerning, they can raise a flag.

The social worker

The role: Social workers act like a bridge. If teachers come to them with a concern — maybe a child is acting withdrawn — one of the first things they’ll do is call home. They see each child through the lens of their family, school and community. They might learn that a family is going through a divorce or homelessness.

The reality: There aren’t enough of them. According to one model, every school should have one social worker for every 250 students. The reality is that in some schools, social workers are responsible for many more.

The counselor

The role: In some schools, counselors focus solely on academics: helping students pick classes and apply to college. But in others, they also act a lot like social workers, serving as a link to families and working with students who need support.

The reality: Like school social workers, there just aren’t enough counselors. On average nationwide, each counselor is responsible for nearly 500 students. The American School Counselor Association recommends a caseload nearly half that size.

The special education teacher

The Role: Special education teachers may start working with students when a mental health problem affects the ability to do school work. They are primarily responsible for working on academic skills.

The reality: Again, there aren’t enough of them. Nearly every state has reported ashortage of special education teachers. Half of all school districts say they have trouble recruiting highly qualified candidates.

The school psychologist

The Role: Here’s one job that, on paper, is truly dedicated to student mental health. School psychologists are key players when it comes to crisis intervention and can refer students to outside help, such as a psychiatrist.

The reality: If you sense a pattern here, you’re right. In the U.S., there is just one school psychologist for every 1,400 students, according to the most recent data available from the National Association of School Psychologists.

The school nurse

The role: Most any school nurse will tell you, physical and mental health are tough to separate. That puts nurses in a prime spot to catch problems early. For example: A kid who comes into the nurse’s office a lot, complaining of headaches or stomach problems? That could be a sign of anxiety, a strategy to avoid a bully, or a sign of troubles at home.

The reality: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least one nurse for every 750 students, but the actual ratio across the country can be much higher.

The principal

The role: As the top dogs in schools, principals make the big decisions about priorities. They can bring in social-emotional, anti-bullying and suicide-prevention programs.

The reality: Principals also have a lot on their plates: the day-to-day management of student behavior, school culture and teacher support.

Getting help, and “excited for life”

Katie says things started to turn around for her when she met a nurse at the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., who finally showed interest in what was wrong.

Now, she’s begun college and wants to be a pediatric nurse.

“I’m doing a lot better now” she says. ” Obviously, I mean, I’m a lot happier. I’m excited for school. I’m excited to graduate. I’m excited for life.”

Dyslexia

This is what reading is like when you have dyslexia – Term Life

Hello, world. My name is Alle. I’m a writer and an editor, and I’m dyslexic.

When people find out that I have dyslexia, the first question they ask is always, “What is that LIKE?” And up until now, I’ve never had an answer for that. I’ve always been dyslexic; how do you explain what the world looks like when you have nothing to compare it to? I usually fall back on explaining what it IS.

My usual spiel: dyslexia is a learning disability that generally involves problems reading, writing, spelling, and pronouncing words, as well as understanding the things you read. It’s a cognitive difference, not a deficiency in intelligence. I was diagnosed when I was five; my dyslexia was (and remains) in the moderate-to-severe range.

As for what it’s like, dyslexia is kind of like “The Matrix” — you can’t be told what it is…

Image result for This is what reading is like when you have dyslexia revelist.com
photo: Warner Bros / The Wachowskis

That just got easier to do — at least a little. Victor Widell (no relation to Taylor, I assume) created adyslexia simulator on his blog to show people who don’t have the “disorder” what reading is like for people who do. And in the opinion of this dyslexic, it is ACCURATE AS HELL.

This is your brain on dyslexia.

Image result for This is what reading is like when you have dyslexia revelist.com

photo: Victor Widell / Geon

As many Internet commenters have pointed out, dyslexia exists on a continuum and doesn’t affect all people the same way. This is very true: for me, letters don’t jump around nearly as much as in Widell’s simulation — they tend to start out jumbled and remain that way (or get worse).

But the amount of concentration it takes to make sense out of each word is exactly spot on. Having dyslexia means that you need to devote 100% of your processing power to figuring out not just what each word says, but then holding it in your mind while you figure out the next one. You have to look for context clues, sort through mix-ups, and keep everything in your short-term memory, WHILE ALSO absorbing the meaning of the sentence.

Yet some people continue to think about dyslexics as “stupid” or “lazy.”

Ok. Spend 10 minutes trying to read that paragraph and THEN come talk to me about laziness, fools.

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We can’t see the world through other people’s eyes — not really. I’ll never be able to tell anyone exactly what it’s like to have my special blend of dyslexic brain. But this simulation is a great reminder that people experience things in vastly different ways. Being sensitive to, and looking for ways to make things easier for, people with cognitive differences like dyslexia is really important.

And yes, I did just spell that “dyselxia.” Thanks, brain.

By:Alle Connell

49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

By

7 min read

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It happens to every child in one form or another – anxiety. As parents, we would like to shield our children from life’s anxious moments, but navigating anxiety is an essential life skill that will serve them in the years to come. In the heat of the moment, try these simple phrases to help your children identify, accept, and work through their anxious moments.

1. “Can you draw it?”

Drawing, painting or doodling about an anxiety provides kids with an outlet for their feelings when they can’t use their words.

2.  “I love you. You are safe.”

Being told that you will be kept safe by the person you love the most is a powerful affirmation. Remember, anxiety makes your children feel as if their minds and bodys are in danger. Repeating they are safe can soothe the nervous system.

3. “Let’s pretend we’re blowing up a giant balloon. We’ll take a deep breath and blow it up to the count of 5.”

If you tell a child to take a deep breath in the middle of a panic attack, chances are you’ll hear, “I CAN’T!” Instead, make it a game. Pretend to blow up a balloon, making funny noises in the process. Taking three deep breaths and blowing them out will actually reverse the stress response in the body and may even get you a few giggles in the process.

4. “I will say something and I want you to say it exactly as I do: ‘I can do this.’” Do this 10 times at variable volume.

Marathon runners use this trick all of the time to get past “the wall.”

5. “Why do you think that is?”

This is especially helpful for older kids who can better articulate the “Why” in what they are feeling.

6. “What will happen next?”

If your children are anxious about an event, help them think through the event and identify what will come after it. Anxiety causes myopic vision, which makes life after the event seem to disappear.

7. “We are an unstoppable team.”

Separation is a powerful anxiety trigger for young children. Reassure them that you will work together, even if they can’t see you.

8. Have a battle cry: “I am a warrior!”; “I am unstoppable!”; or “Look out World, here I come!”

There is a reason why movies show people yelling before they go into battle. The physical act of yelling replaces fear with endorphins. It can also be fun.

9. “If how you feel was a monster, what would it look like?”

Giving anxiety a characterization means you take a confusing feeling and make it concrete and palpable. Once kids have a worry character, they can talk to their worry.

10. “I can’t wait until _____.”

Excitement about a future moment is contagious.

Free Ebook: 72 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

11.  “Let’s put your worry on the shelf while we _____ (listen to your favorite song, run around the block, read this story). Then we’ll pick it back up again.”

Those who are anxiety-prone often feel as though they have to carry their anxiety until whatever they are anxious about is over. This is especially difficult when your children are anxious about something they cannot change in the future. Setting it aside to do something fun can help put their worries into perspective.

12.  “This feeling will pass. Let’s get comfortable until it does.”

The act of getting comfortable calms the mind as well as the body. Weightier blankets have even been shown to reduce anxiety by increasing mild physical stimuli.

13. “Let’s learn more about it.”

Let your children explore their fears by asking as many questions as they need. After all, knowledge is power.

14. “Let’s count _____.”

This distraction technique requires no advance preparation. Counting the number of people wearing boots, the number of watches, the number of kids, or the number of hats in the room requires observation and thought, both of which detract from the anxiety your child is feeling.

15. “I need you to tell me when 2 minutes have gone by.”

Time is a powerful tool when children are anxious. By watching a clock or a watch for movement, a child has a focus point other than what is happening.

16. “Close your eyes. Picture this…”

Visualization is a powerful technique used to ease pain and anxiety. Guide your child through imagining a safe, warm, happy place where they feel comfortable. If they are listening intently, the physical symptoms of anxiety will dissipate.

17. “I get scared/nervous/anxious sometimes too. It’s no fun.”

Empathy wins in many, many situations. It may even strike up a conversation with your older child about how you overcame anxiety.

18. “Let’s pull out our calm-down checklist.”

Anxiety can hijack the logical brain; carry a checklist with coping skills your child has practiced. When the need presents itself, operate off of this checklist.

19. “You are not alone in how you feel.”

Pointing out all of the people who may share their fears and anxieties helps your child understand that overcoming anxiety is universal.

20. “Tell me the worst thing that could possibly happen.”

Once you’ve imagined the worst possible outcome of the worry, talk about the likelihood of that worst possible situation happening. Next, ask your child about the best possible outcome. Finally, ask them about the most likely outcome. The goal of this exercise is to help a child think more accurately during their anxious experience.

21. “Worrying is helpful, sometimes.”

This seems completely counter-intuitive to tell a child that is already anxious, but pointing out why anxiety is helpful reassures your children that there isn’t something wrong with them.

Free Ebook: 72 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

22. “What does your thought bubble say?”

If your children read comics, they are familiar with thought bubbles and how they move the story along. By talking about their thoughts as third-party observers, they can gain perspective on them.

23. “Let’s find some evidence.”

Collecting evidence to support or refute your child’s reasons for anxiety helps your children see if their worries are based on fact.

24. “Let’s have a debate.”

Older children especially love this exercise because they have permission to debate their parent. Have a point, counter-point style debate about the reasons for their anxiety. You may learn a lot about their reasoning in the process.

25. “What is the first piece we need to worry about?”

Anxiety often makes mountains out of molehills. One of the most important strategies for overcoming anxiety is to break the mountain back down into manageable chunks. In doing this, we realize the entire experience isn’t causing anxiety, just one or two parts.

26. “Let’s list all of the people you love.”

Anais Nin is credited with the quote, “Anxiety is love’s greatest killer.” If that statement is true, then love is anxiety’s greatest killer as well. By recalling all of the people that your child loves and why, love will replace anxiety.

27. “Remember when…”

Competence breeds confidence. Confidence quells anxiety. Helping your children recall a time when they overcame anxiety gives them feelings of competence and thereby confidence in their abilities.

28. “I am proud of you already.”

Knowing you are pleased with their efforts, regardless of the outcome, alleviates the need to do something perfectly – a source of stress for a lot of kids.

29. “We’re going for a walk.”

Exercise relieves anxiety for up to several hours as it burns excess energy, loosens tense muscles and boosts mood. If your children can’t take a walk right now, have them run in place, bounce on a yoga ball, jump rope or stretch.

30. “Let’s watch your thought pass by.”

Ask your children to pretend the anxious thought is a train that has stopped at the station above their head. In a few minutes, like all trains, the thought will move on to its next destination.

31. “I’m taking a deep breath.”

Model a calming strategy and encourage your child to mirror you. If your children allow you, hold them to your chest so they can feel your rhythmic breathing and regulate theirs.

32. “How can I help?”

Let your children guide the situation and tell you what calming strategy or tool they prefer in this situation.

33. “This feeling will pass.”

Often, children will feel like their anxiety is never-ending. Instead of shutting down, avoiding, or squashing the worry, remind them that relief is on the way.

Free Ebook: 72 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

34. “Let’s squeeze this stress ball together.”

When your children direct their anxiety to a stress ball, they feel emotional relief. Buy a ball, keep a handful of play dough nearby or make your own homemade stress ball by filling a balloon with flour or rice.

35. “I see Widdle is worried again. Let’s teach Widdle not to worry.”

Create a character to represent the worry, such as Widdle the Worrier. Tell your child that Widdle is worried and you need to teach him some coping skills.

36. “I know this is hard.”

Acknowledge that the situation is difficult. Your validation shows your children that you respect them.

37. “I have your smell buddy right here.”

A smell buddy, fragrance necklace or diffuser can calm anxiety, especially when you fill it with lavender, sage, chamomile, sandalwood or jasmine.

38. “Tell me about it.”

Without interrupting, listen to your children talk about what’s bothering them. Talking it out can give your children time to process their thoughts and come up with a solution that works for them.

39. “You are so brave!”

Affirm your children’s ability to handle the situation, and you empower them to succeed this time.

40. “Which calming strategy do you want to use right now?”

Because each anxious situation is different, give your children the opportunity to choose the calming strategy they want to use.

41. “We’ll get through this together.”

Supporting your children with your presence and commitment can empower them to persevere until the scary situation is over.

42. “What else do you know about (scary thing)?”

When your children face a consistent anxiety, research it when they are calm. Read books about the scary thing and learn as much as possible about it. When the anxiety surfaces again, ask your children to recall what they’ve learned. This step removes power from the scary thing and empowers your child.

43. “Let’s go to your happy place.”

Visualization is an effective tool against anxiety. When your children are calm, practice this calming strategy until they are able to use it successfully during anxious moments.

44. “What do you need from me?”

Ask your children to tell you what they need. It could be a hug, space or a solution.

45. “If you gave your­­ feeling a color, what would it be?”

Asking another person to identify what they’re feeling in the midst of anxiety is nearly impossible. But asking your children to give how they feel with a color, gives them a chance to think about how they feel relative to something simple. Follow up by asking why their feeling is that color.

46. “Let me hold you.”

Give your children a front hug, a hug from behind, or let them sit on your lap. The physical contact provides a chance for your child to relax and feel safe.

47. “Remember when you made it through XYZ?”

Reminding your child of a past success will encourage them to persevere in this situation.

48. “Help me move this wall.”

Hard work, like pushing on a wall, relieves tension and emotions. Resistance bands also work.

49. “Let’s write a new story.”

Your children have written a story in their mind about how the future is going to turn out. This future makes them feel anxious. Accept their story and then ask them to come up with a few more plot lines where the story’s ending is different.

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I have dyspraxia, but people tell me I must be drunk.

Guest post by Rosie, who has dyspraxia affecting her movement, balance and sensory processing. She’s supporting our End the Awkward campaign. Here she shares what a typical night out might be like for someone with dyspraxia.

It’s a Saturday evening and I’m off to meet some friends for some drinks. To get there I have to take a train and pass through a busy street.

It takes me a while to get on the train, as I struggle to judge the distance between the platform and the train. As I reach to grab hold of the rail, I can hear people behind me whispering. “Can she just hurry up, what’s she doing?”

The train is packed and I can’t see any spare seats. I can feel myself losing my balance and I bump into people, accidently standing on their feet and hitting them with my bag. “Look where you’re going,” I hear muttered.

I sit down in one of the disabled accessible seats near the train door. The conductor approaches me: “But you don’t look like you’re disabled, why do you need a seat?” I feel so shocked that I spill coins everywhere as I get money out of my purse. “Pay when you get off,” he mutters, disgusted.

I glance at my phone. There are texts from my friends asking where I am. Oh no, I must be running late, and where is this bar again I can’t remember, I’m lost, I can feel my anxiety levels rising, my sensitivity to noise and crowds overwhelming me.

I eventually get to the bar, red faced, the contents of my bag all over the place, anxious and overwhelmed and exhausted. I get a drink, and am still so shaken I trip on a step and spill it down me. “She must be drunk already,” I hear people laugh.

But no, I’m not drunk – I have dyspraxia.

What is dyspraxia?

You can’t easily tell if someone has dyspraxia, and not that many people have heard of it.

It is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body. This affects my ability to perform movements in a coordinated way, balance, motor skills and sensory sensitivity. Every person with dyspraxia is affected differently.

Rosie holding a medal, a stadium in the background
Rosie at the Olympic Stadium after finishing a 10k run

It can make it hard to carry out everyday activities, such as riding a bike, handwriting, tying shoelaces or using kitchen equipment. It’s difficult to walk up and down stairs, and I’m prone to falling over. We also can struggle with fatigue and low energy, as it takes our brains longer to process things.

Without proper understanding, people with dyspraxia can be seen as careless, clumsy, and rude – when in reality that’s far from the case.

Don’t judge by appearances

Ignorance, misunderstandings and awkwardness make already difficult situations a lot worse, and make someone with dyspraxia feel anxious and overwhelmed.

To end the awkwardness, people shouldn’t judge based on appearances. You never know if someone has an invisible condition, and you never know who might need that seat on the train. A little bit of patience and kindness can go a long way.

Portrait of Rosie with her boyfriend
Rosie with her boyfriend Matt, ‘who helps sort out the chaos’

And don’t make assumptions about what I can and can’t do. We aren’t stupid or careless; our brains are just wired in a different way, so the way we learn and process information is different.

Although day-to-day life with dyspraxia can be chaotic and frustrating, it also has meant I’m a very determined and resilient person. I am creative and able to see the bigger picture, and the experiences I’ve had have made me more understanding and empathetic of others.

With the right support and understanding, dyspraxia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success and living life to the full.

14 Reasons Why I Hate Dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a learning disability, which affects a person’s reading, writing, language and sequencing/ordering skills. There are thousands of studies suggesting dyslexia is a “gift” with many advantages. Well, let me tell you something. This “gift” certainly has some sucky disadvantages. Here are 14 of them:

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  1. Everyday you get annoyed frustrated and/or embarrassed. You know you are smart (in fact most dyslexics have average or above average IQ’s), yet you feel like your dyslexic “quirks” make you look stupid.
  2. You sometimes confuse lower case b’s and d’s as well as p’s and q’s.
  3. Once in a while you’ll write a letter or a number backwards. Yep… only once in a while…
  4. Your reading comprehension sucks. You have to re-read everything a few times before it actually sinks in.
  5. Sounding out words never has and never will work for you.
  6. You’ve never played scrabble in your life. That’s just asking for an anxiety attack.
  7. You hate giving directions. You may have an excellent sense of direction but you often confuse your lefts from your rights.
  8. When you tell people you have dyslexia, you get asked some really stupid questions. My favorite has to be “Oh! Does that mean you can’t read?” or “So, you read everything backwards?” Even though you want to say “No you ignorant asshole! I am literate. I can read and write just as well as you. Hell! Probably better than you!” you have to take a deep breath and calmly explain what dyslexia is.
  9. You have nightmares about teachers or bosses asking you to read out loud in front of your peers.
  10. Your handwriting is super messy. Borderline eligible. A terrible habit formed at an early age as a way to mask embarrassing spelling mistakes.
  11. Everyday you thank the gods of technology for the invention of spell check. It comforts you like a security blanket. Making you feel safe from literary trips, stumbles, and face plants. Spell check is a dyslexic’s best friend. Until you get the dreaded “No Guesses Found” message. Then you have a fit of anger and call it the most terrible names you can come up with. (Don’t worry spell check, sometimes I get mad but I will always love you)
  12. As a child, you went to great extremes to convince your parents you were too sick to go to school on the day of a spelling bee.
  13. You still need to use your fingers to solve even the simplest of math problems. Doing it in your head is impossible. You only use debit/credit cards to pay for things. Using your fingers to count cash at a store register is just too mortifying to imagine. The cards only thing works well, until you are at a restaurant or bar. You’ve become a master at dodging the responsibility of dividing up the check. But there is no escaping calculating the tip percentage. You try to discretely sneak a peak at someone else’s receipt. Then copy what they have written down and hope for the best.
  14. You sometimes sound like Yoda and unintentionally arrange words in an object-subject-verb order. Awkward I am.

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Dyslexics, supposedly, are more creative, curious, imaginative, intuitive, and are big picture thinkers. I like to think of myself as creative and intuitive. Perhaps there is a connection? Perhaps not. I really couldn’t tell you if any of those characteristics are a result of dyslexia, personality, genetics or something else entirely. Sometimes I wonder what I would do if scientist came up with a reversal. Then I figure that won’t be happening during my lifetime. So, I guess I’ll just stay calm and dyslexia on?

The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment For ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia

This important new book documents a major breakthrough in the treatment of the three most widespread learning disabilities–ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia (“clumsy child syndrome”). Although these conditions have reached epidemic proportions, treatment has been limited to ineffective behavioral therapies or the controversial prescription drug Ritalin. Now Dr. B. Jacqueline Stordy, a leading researcher in the field, reveals a stunning new treatment based on a simple nutritional supplement: LCP (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids). The LCP Solution is the first book to describe this new natural treatment and to explain how children (and adults) can incorporate it into their daily lives.

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As a member of a family with a long history of dyslexia, Dr. Stordy discovered in a pioneering experiment that dyslexic and dyspraxic children who began taking a dietary supplement consisting of LCP experienced dramatic transformations in the quality of their lives. At the same time, parallel studies conducted at Purdue University came up with similar results with children who had ADHD. The effect of this dietary supplement was nothing short of revolutionary: after only a few weeks, dyslexic and ADHD children became calmer, more focused, easier to teach, while dyspraxics improved significantly in dexterity and balance, showing markedly less anxiety.

In The LCP Solution, Dr. Stordy documents how this life-changing treatment came about and explains step-by-step how sufferers of each of the three major conditions can use it to change their lives at home, at school, and at work. Illuminating, vividly presented, and authoritative in its findings, this book will revolutionize our approach to learning disabilities. LCPs are natural, simple to use, and amazing in their benefits. If you or someone you love suffers from a learning disability, this book is essential reading.

byB. Jacqueline Stordy, Malcolm J. Nicholl

15 Facts About The Most Common Mental Disorder, From Symptoms To Efforts To Reduce Stigma

Ask artist Gemma Correll, and she’ll tell you living with anxiety is like living in a real-life horror movie. Actually, don’t ask her — simply click on her recent comic book-style illustrations and you’ll see an anxiety attack can begin when someone decides to call you instead of text. The illustrations are based on Correll’s own “anxieties and neuroticisms,” she told Mashable; she herself has been diagnosed with clinical anxiety and depression. Not only does finding the humor in her situation help her cope, but it doubles as education for other people who have no experience with these disorders.

Anxiety disorders

Consider the list here an extension of that — education. Who does anxiety typically affect? When does it present itself? What treatment is available? Is there still stigma? Ultimately, a deeper understanding of anxiety disorders will make it easier for people like Correll to open up about their struggles, and show others their anxieties are nothing to be ashamed of. Greater visibility leads to greater social support.

1. EVERYBODY’S ANXIOUS

Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders in the general population, according tothe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC cites most disorders are more prevalent in women than in men, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 15 percent for any anxiety disorder.

2. DIFFERENT TYPES

There are six main types of the disorder: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

3. SYMPTOMS

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorders before age 21, each of which will vary with the specific type of anxiety. Generally speaking, you may have a disorder if you constantly feel on edge, experience insomnia, shortness of breath, a pounding heart, and sweat.

4. PREVALENCE

The prevalence of anxiety is greater in developed countries than in developing countries, with the United States considered to be the most anxious nation on Earth — at least that’s how Orion Jones put it in hisarticle for Big Think. Jones considers the two main contributing factors: one being how conflated Americans’ identities have become with material goods, followed by the myth of meritocracy — a society governed by people selected on the basis of their ability.

5. CAUSES

Scientists believe the two underlying causes of anxiety disorders are genetics and stress, according to NAMI. Studies have shown some families have a higher-than-average number of members with anxiety-related issues, which would suggest disorders possibly run in the family. Anxiety disorders can also be the result of stressful or traumatic events, such as abuse and the death of a loved one.

6. BRAIN GAME

Anxiety disorders are associated with low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter researchers believe is responsible for maintaining mood balance; an otherwise deficit is associated with the development of depression. But a 2015 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology found the anxiety disorder may cause lower levels of serotonin, not the other way around. Further research needs to be done, but if confirmed, this could recategorize the disorders, and possibly lead to new treatments.

7. TREATMENT PLANS

For now, NAMI lists three main treatments for anxiety: psychotherapy, prescription medication, and “complementary health approaches,” including stress and relaxation techniques. The type of treatment, as we mentioned with symptoms, will vary depending on a person’s specific disorder. For more ways to manage anxiety, click here.

8. EFFECTIVE THERAPY

In in order for therapy to be effective, the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) at the National Institutes of Health recommends therapy be tailored to a person’s individual anxieties, adding “a typical ‘side effect’ is temporary discomfort involved with thinking about confronting feared situations.”

9. MEDICATIONS

Anti-anxiety medication is prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, which can include panic attacks, extreme worry, and/or fear, NIMH reported. The most commonly prescribed medications are called benzodiazepines, followed by beta-blockers and antidepressants, namely selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Many fear medications will put them in a daze or make them feel like a zombie, but this can be avoided when the right type and dose is worked out with a health care provider.

10. GETTING DIAGNOSED

NAMI reports anxiety symptoms can be easily confused with medical conditions, such as heart disease and hyperthyroidism. “Therefore, a doctor will likely perform a careful evaluation involving a physical examination, an interview, and order lab tests.”

11. WHAT NOT TO SAY

Here’s what not to do if someone has anxiety: don’t make assumptions or recommendations because if you’re not their doctor, medically speaking, you don’t know what’s right for them. Also don’t recommend things, like yoga or meditation — these may be helpful on a daily basis, but less so during an anxiety attack.

12. WHEN ANXIETY HURTS MOST

In a trends report from the Crisis Text Line, a subsidiary of the non-profit organization Do Something, data revealed teens were most affected by anxiety at 9 p.m. at night; there’s a spike around 8 a.m., where teens go on to maintain pretty even levels throughout the day before experiencing another spike at 8 p.m., which lasts through midnight.

13. COLLEGE ANXIETY

NAMI’s “College Students Speak: A Survey Report on Mental Health” found 11 percent of college students struggled with anxiety. Of the students who reported experiencing a mental health crisis while in college, 73 percent listed reasons like extreme feelings of anxiety, panic, and depression about school and life.

14. STIGMA

Mental illness remains stigmatized around the globe. In 2000, a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found “people with genuine anxiety disorders can be misdiagnosed and mismanaged, because of negative public and professional attitudes.” And while it may be to a lesser extent today, this is still a reality. Psychology Today reported stigma can result in exclusion, poor social support, poor quality of life, and low self-esteem among those with anxiety disorders.

15. YOU’RE NOT BROKEN

Like we said, gaining a deeper understanding of what anxiety disorders are and aren’t is the first step toward reduced stigma, followed by inviting those who struggle in silence to come forward and get help. Improving attitudes toward people with mental health problems, as well as increasing future willingness to disclose problems and promise anti-stigma behavior could very well make this a reality.

Uncomfortable Truths About the ADHD Nervous System

Easily bored, sensitive to distractions, creative and intense. If you grew up with ADHD, chances are you always felt “different.” Now here’s a scientific explanation, finally, of why we act the way we do.

What I have come to understand — something that people with ADHD know from an early age — is that, if you have an ADHD nervous system, you might as well have been born on a different planet.

Most people with ADHD have always known they are different. They were told by parents, teachers, employers, spouses, and friends that they did not fit the common mold and that they had better shape up in a hurry if they wanted to make something of themselves.

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As if they were immigrants, they were told to assimilate into the dominant culture and become like everyone else. Unfortunately, no one told them how to do this. No one revealed the bigger secret: It couldn’t be done, no matter how hard they tried. The only outcome would be failure, made worse by the accusation that they will never succeed because they don’t try hard enough or long enough.

It seems odd to call a condition a disorder when the condition comes with so many positive features. People with an ADHD-style nervous system tend to be great problem-solvers. They wade into problems that have stumped everyone else and jump to the answer. They are affable, likable people with a sense of humor. They have what Paul Wender called “relentless determination.” When they get hooked on a challenge, they tackle it with one approach after another until they master the problem — and they may lose interest entirely when it is no longer a challenge.

If I could name the qualities that would assure a person’s success in life, I would say being bright, being creative with that intelligence, and being well-liked. I would also choose hardworking and diligent. I would want many of the traits that ADDers possess.

The main obstacle to understanding and managing ADHD has been the unstated and incorrect assumption that ADDers could and should be like the rest of us. For neurotypicals and ADDers alike, here is a detailed portrait of why those with attention deficit do what they do.

Why We Don’t Function Well in a Linear World

The ADHD world is curvilinear. Past, present, and future are never separate and distinct. Everything is now. ADDers live in a permanent present and have a hard time learning from the past or looking into the future to see the inescapable consequences of their actions. “Acting without thinking” is the definition of impulsivity, and one of the reasons that ADDers have trouble learning from experience.

It also means that ADDers aren’t good at ordination — planning and doing parts of a task in order. Tasks in the neurotypical world have a beginning, a middle, and an end. ADDers don’t know where and how to start, since they can’t find the beginning. They jump into the middle of a task and work in all directions at once. Organization becomes an unsustainable task because organizational systems work on linearity, importance, and time.

Why We Are Overwhelmed

People in the ADHD world experience life more intensely, more passionately than neurotypicals. They have a low threshold for outside sensory experience because the day-to-day experience of their five senses and their thoughts is always on high volume. The ADHD nervous system is overwhelmed by life experiences because its intensity is so high.

The ADHD nervous system is rarely at rest. It wants to be engaged in something interesting and challenging. Attention is never “deficit.” It is always excessive, constantly occupied with internal reveries and engagements. When ADDers are not in The Zone, in hyperfocus, they have four or five things rattling around in their minds, all at once and for no obvious reason, like five people talking to you simultaneously. Nothing gets sustained, undivided attention. Nothing gets done well.

Many people with ADHD can’t screen out sensory input. Sometimes this is related to only one sensory realm, such as hearing. In fact, the phenomenon is called hyperacusis (amplified hearing), even when the disruption comes from another of the five senses. Here are some examples:

> The slightest sound in the house prevents falling asleep and overwhelms the ability to disregard it.

> Any movement, no matter how small, is distracting.

> Certain smells, which others barely notice, cause people with ADD to leave the room.

ADDers have their worlds constantly disrupted by experiences of which the neurotypical is unaware. This disruption enforces the perception of the ADHD person as being odd, prickly, demanding, and high-maintenance. But this is all that ADDers have ever known. It is their normal. The notion of being different, and that difference being perceived as unacceptable by others, is made a part of how they are regarded. It is a part of the ADDer’s identity.