Singular Minds
December 1, 2004 • Volume I, Issue 4
Prolinguistica Dyslexia Correction Center
Laura Zink de Diaz

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PDCC News

Public Talks on Dyslexia

The talk titled "The Gift of Dyslexia" will be repeated on January 6, 2005. If you weren't able to attend the first presentation of this talk, please consider this my invitation to attend the January talk. And please let friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers know about it, if you think the talk might be helpful to them. To date, I've not had much success finding an appropriate larger location for the talk, so it will be held at the Tridex Building again, Room 101-D, just downstairs from Prolinguistica. The talk will begin at 7:00 pm. Doors will open at 6:45 pm. Those in attendance will receive a coupon from PDCC for 10% off the cost of one dyslexia correction program.

A second talk, "Creativity and Learning," is scheduled for January 27, 2005. This talk will look at the importance of creativity for the dyslexic learner. I'm still looking for a larger location for this talk and will let you know the location in the January issue of Singular Minds.

Support Group Meeting

The Support Group for those dealing with a corrected or uncorrected dyslexic friend, relative or loved one will meet December 9 at 7:00 pm in the conference room at our office in Mount Vernon. If you haven't been to the office yet, there are directions and a map on the web site at:

http://www.pdcc-read.com/WhereAreWe.html

Or, give me a call at 360-848-9792 for verbal directions.

The purpose of the meeting is to exchange information, provide mutual support, and have a relaxing time. Please remember that this is an informal support group, a place to find people who are dealing with issues that may be similar to yours, whose experiences you may or may not find helpful. There is no fee to attend, although contributions to help cover the cost of coffee and snacks are always appreciated. As always, if you feel you need counseling, I encourage you to consult a qualified counselor.


Clay Clinic

Our next clay night will be December 16  in the conference room at our office in Mount Vernon. We'll begin at 5:30 pm with PIZZA! and conversation.  Clay night can help if you've gotten off track and need to jump start your commitment to completing your symbol mastery. Or perhaps there are some words on the trigger list you've been putting off. Maybe you'd just like to work on clay in a different environment and see who else is doing symbol mastery...and after eating, we'll work on words from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Please call (360-848-9792) or email (dyslexia@prolinguistica.com ) to let us know you plan to attend -- so we can be sure we have enough pizza on hand! Cost: $15/client.

Good Stuff to Read

Concentration hampers simple tasks
Roxanne Khamsi

Brain images show thinking about learning makes it more difficult.When attempting to master a task, sometimes it's best not to try too hard. Researchers have confirmed this folk wisdom, using brain imaging to show that thinking too hard about simple actions interferes with the learning process. Read about the study at:

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041122/full/041122-14.html
This information reinforces what good teachers have known for many years - that lowering the "affective filter" -- that is, reducing stress and anxiety in the classroom -- improves learning and retention There are those who continue to insist that if the learning environment is "fun," not much learning is likely to go on. Brain research continues to support the opposite - that the more relaxed and enjoyable the learning environment and activities are, the more effective. And that goes for everyone, not just dyslexics.

Autism Linked to Language Disorder
Ivanhoe.com
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston used MRI scans to look at Broca’s area -- a key language center in the brain -- in autistic boys with language problems, autistic boys without language problems, boys with SLI, and normal boys. Normally, Broca’s area will be larger on the side of the brain opposite from the person’s handedness. In other words, right-handed people generally have larger Broca’s areas on the left side of the brain. All of the boys in this study were right-handed. Results showed boys with SLI and autistic boys with language problems both had larger Broca’s areas on the right side of the brain instead of the left side. Autistic boys without language problems and normal boys had larger Broca’s areas on the left side of the brain.
The researchers believe these findings shed new light on autism and the notion that autism might be more a collection of related disorders with overlapping symptoms than a single disorder. Read more about it at: http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=9710

In case you've been considering ADHD medication
Here, kiddie, kiddie...
Kelly Hearn, AlterNet
A disturbing article about how drug companies are pushing ADHD drugs for children by funding researchers and advocacy groups -- and ignoring the studies which question their claims. Read it at:
http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/20594/
If you feel you're being pressured to put your child on medication for ADHD so he or she will be "easier" to teach at school, I urge you to read all you can about ADD and ADHD before you make that decision. There are many excellent books about ADD/HD where you can find information about the advantages and disadvantages of medication. I particularly recommend any of Thom Hartmann's books on the subject. These are widely available at bookstores and libraries, and for purchase on the internet. Thom Hartmann's ADD, A Different Perception and Beyond ADD: Hunting for Reasons are both available from Davis Dyslexia Association at www.dyslexia.com.

Six Games for Reading
Give familiar games like "Old Maid" and "Go Fish" a reading twist. This article describes how six games can be fun for kids while practicing their reading skills. You’ll find it at:
http://www.readingrockets.org/article.php?ID=244
And too check out Reading Rockets, go to:  http://www.readingrockets.org/

To prepare your toddler for Harvard, start now!
Dave Barry
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Read what Dave Barry and his wife learned when they went to a meeting at their daughter’s preschool to find out about options for kindergarten. Funny, but also sort of disturbing, it’s at:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/10/29/features/bar30.html

What if they gave a test and nobody came?
Letter to the Editor by Bill Bowlby
Here’s a great rant about how the excessive testing imposed on public schools by legislators who know nothing about teaching or learning is squeezing the intellectual life out of classrooms in the name of getting tough. Granted, it’s Colorado, but it’s a good rant and Mr. Bowlby makes a number of good points. You can read it at: http://susanohanian.org/show_letters.html?id=412

Remember, it was Andrew Jackson who said,
“It’s a ---- poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.”
Ooh, I know this one...
Stuart Jeffries ­ The Guardian
British spelling is supposedly in decline and Mr. Jeffries says “some bright spark at the BBC has decided to harness the power of Pop Idol-style telly to make a series called Hard Spell, a show that capitalises on the success of Spellbound, the film about US spelling bees. The idea is to find - please God, no - the Will Young of spelling. People are already calling it Swot Idol which, you have to admit, is indubitably oxymoronic."
Read about the “problem,’ the show, the Guardian’s own carefully designed spelling test -- and take solace in the knowledge that nearly all the glittering literati they asked to take a spelling test either declined or did more poorly than their illustrious station might have predicted; and all of them squirmed. You’ll find the story at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1353559,00.htm

Stocking stuffer, anyone?

Looking for a good family board game for the holiday season? How about "Cranium?" Billed as the game for your whole brain, the game asks players to work their way around the board in teams by solving problems posed on four different sets of cards. The "data head" cards ask team members to search their memories for information; "creative cat" cards require a member of the team to communicate the answer to the others by drawing or modeling clay figures (no numbers or letters allowed); "star performers" act out clues a la "charades" and for "word worm" cards a team member must be able to spell a word backwards without writing it down first. "Cranium" allows participants to work in teams, AND make use of their individual strengths to move the team forward towards victory. I have it at the office, so if you'd like to look it over, drop by!

A few of you have asked where I got the puzzles I keep in my office. Most of them have come from a toy store in Burlingame, CA, called Tout About Toys. You can find them on-line at http://www.toutabouttoys.com. Lots of puzzles for visual-spacial learners of all ages.

Happy Holidays!
Laura


Next Issue of Singular Minds: Jan 3, 2005


Got a topic you’d like to see addressed in Singular Minds? E-mail questions, proposals, letters, and/or stories to: singularminds@prolinguistica.com


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Singular Minds
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Prolinguistica Dyslexia Correction Center
www/pdcc-read.com
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