dyslexic Archives - Lexercise

The Best Dyslexia Games Online With Our Lead Artist, Iszzy

example of one of Lexercise's dyslexia games

Try Our Fun Online Dyslexia Games Here!

Thanks to the proliferation of games, films, phones, and other digital media, today’s school-age children are already visually sophisticated. They expect their online experience will come loaded with plenty of colors, sound, and motion, and might find it laughable that, just a few decades ago, a simple line of green text on a black screen could dazzle anyone.

Students with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities are no exception. In fact, compelling visual elements may help to keep them interested when learning involves many repetitions. At Lexercise, we recognize the importance of graphics and build our educational dyslexia games online for children into an exciting visual framework.

The technological bells and whistles are designed to serve the purpose of the Lexercise games: to reinforce structured literacy concepts and make reading and spelling automatic and effortless. Each game’s artwork is a labor of attention and love. In fact, it is the dedicated attention of Lexercise Lead Artist Isabel Hennes that puts the visual pizzazz into our games.

So, meet Iszzy.

illustration created by Iszzy

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Iszzy studied Art and Design at North Carolina State University, where she was introduced to serious games in a studio class during her junior year. She could immediately see herself pursuing a career in educational gaming.

Describing her relationship with education as “complicated,” Iszzy’s school experience will sound familiar to the families of children with learning difficulties. “From kindergarten through grade school I found myself faced with challenges that felt above my level of capability and skill,” she says. “The lack of confidence in my academic ability stemmed from years of misguided teaching and inflexible education systems; as a result, I found myself struggling to keep up with the heavily standardized, test-based curriculum. Fortunately, what I lacked in book smarts, I made up for in creative aptitude and a proclivity for hard work.”

Designing Computer Games for Dyslexia

Recruited to work on a National Science Foundation-funded project in game-based learning, Iszzy was inspired to pursue a graduate degree. For two years she worked with a team to develop a serious learning game that sought to improve fifth-graders’ reading comprehension of scientific text using metacognitive scaffolding. At the same time, she worked on her own project that focused on how anxiety-coping mechanisms could be integrated into a serious game. 

“It brought me a tremendous amount of peace to know that people were finally recognizing that not all children learn at the same pace or in the same way, and were finding creative solutions to such ubiquitous problems. Fortunately, the accessibility of technology today means that no student should be subjected to a teaching style that does not suit his or her personal needs.”

Lexercise was a great fit and Iszzy worked as part of the development team of our online games for dyslexia for quite a while before she became a full-time Lead Artist. While she has a fundamental understanding of the technical aspects of game-building, Iszzy says, “I have always considered myself first and foremost an illustrator, so I try to draw as much as I can whether it is on the computer or on a piece of paper.”

Iszzy learned about dyslexia by redesigning the Lexercise instructional materials, and reviewing them, again and again, to make sure she understood the concepts well enough to illustrate them.

Lexercise game design, she explains, “is 100% a team effort.” Practice is a fundamental step in the Lexercise Structured Literacy Curriculum©, so the student dyslexia games have to accurately and efficiently target concepts. Everyone contributes their expertise to the plan that will eventually become a game.

 

Making Online Games For Dyslexia Fun!

Once a specific learning concept is targeted for a game, “we try to come up with a metaphor that not only applies to the concept but also comfortably fits into the world we’ve created – the Lexercise games platform. The game concept not only needs to fit all of the educational criteria but also must be engaging and motivating for the user. This step usually involves us scribbling all over a whiteboard and pieces of paper until we are satisfied with an idea.”

Inspiration for lively and relatable images can come from anywhere – “science fiction movies, games, television shows” and even the roof garden of the Lexercise communication tower!

Iszzy is quick to credit Lexercise Chief Technology Officer, Rob Morris, with “the majority of the heavy lifting,” saying he is “an incredible developer who makes the entire process such a pleasure.”

Before a game is released for use by students and therapists, there is a lot of testing and last-minute tweaks. “My favorite Lexercise game has to be Spell In The Blank,” Iszzy says. “I think it is incredibly satisfying.” 

Plus, she adds, “We do have another game coming in the future, so be on the lookout!”

Thanks, Iszzy! Try out some Lexercise dyslexia games online now or contact us for more information on reading, writing, and spelling instruction for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Dyslexia Series on NPR News: Part 2

npr-blog-2

A new NPR radio series, “Unlocking Dyslexia”, sheds some light on the most common learning disability in America that is still a mystery to most. Gabrielle Emanuel, nprEd writer, and correspondent is dyslexic herself. In her series, she goes through explaining the difficulties of dyslexia, the science behind it, and the necessary steps to overcome it. This is part 2 of our 2 part review. Click here to read part 1.


The effects of dyslexia “extend[ ] far beyond the classroom, causing stress, tension, and confusion for families with a dyslexic child”. Emanuel receives some testimonials from parents of dyslexic children:

“There would be days that she could not get on the bus… Just the look of fear in her huge eyes – Mommy, I can’t do this; I can’t do this; don’t make me do this.” – Megan Lordos

“You could feel the cloud hover over the kitchen. It was just – it was a nightmare every night” – Lance Pressl

“He would get off the bus, and he would say to me, Mom, I’m stupid” – Geva Lester

Many parents and their children find themselves in this emotional and destructive spiral without knowing what the problem is or how to fix it. One mother recounts the “‘school didn’t seem worried’…they kept telling her: ‘Well, let’s wait six more months, and we’ll see what happens”. This happens more often than not. “Schools are supposed to help children with dyslexia, but many don’t have the resources to do so.” As a result, dyslexia is often denied and intervention for it is delayed. “The research suggests early and intensive reading help is most effective”. Some intervention can be costly. As one family puts it “‘…we use their college fund to pay for it. We invest in the child that we have now. You know, college won’t be an option if they continue to hate school and reject everything that has to do with reading’” (Emanuel, “Raising A Child).

The radio series highlights one dyslexia program, Lindamood-Bell, a NPR financial supporter. Emanuel received intervention at a Lindamood-Bell center as a child herself. However, she explains that “I’ve never been able to sound out unfamiliar words. And I still can’t” (“Millions Have Dyslexia”). Learning how to pronounce unfamiliar words should be a focus of treatment, a cornerstone of Lexercise therapy. Furthermore, Lindamood-Bell is very expensive, often only available in metro areas and disrupts a child’s schooling by requiring intensive, 4-6-hours-a-day instruction for 6 weeks.

If your experience sounds like the testimonials above, get your child immediate help. Lexercise Structured Literacy can be done in the comfort of your own home, works around your schedule, and most importantly guarantees a grade level increase in 8 weeks of therapy. Call us at 1-919-747-4557 with any questions or to get paired with your expert therapist.


Works Cited:

Emanuel, Gabrielle. “Raising A Child With Dyslexia: 3 Things Parents Can Do.” All Things Considered. NPR. 29 Nov. 2016. Radio.


Emanuel, Gabrielle. “Millions Have Dyslexia, Few Understand It.” All Things Considered. NPR. 28 Nov. 2016. Radio.

Photo Credit: NPR

Dyslexic Advantage in Entrepreneurship

How to Correct Your Child Without Discouraging them (31)Dyslexics tend to go through life unconventionally. They have to come up with alternative routes to garner successful results– and often by themselves. They regularly deal with adversity and build up resiliency.

This is why dyslexics excel in entrepreneurship, the dyslexic advantage.

In small businesses, almost nothing goes as planned and the likelihood of failure is high. Dyslexics learn from an early age that the odds are stacked against them and they must think creatively to surpass their barriers. Those without a learning disability may not have this same learning curve as a child which can lead to being risk adverse.

planning-meetingJulie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London compiled a report regarding dyslexia in business. She found that 35 percent of entrepreneurs identified themselves as dyslexics in America. She also found that dyslexics are more likely to delegate authority and to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

James Banister, a successful CEO has discovered that being dyslexic has advantages in business.

“Its strengths are ones which are particularly useful in building a strong company – problem-solving abilities, strong reasoning and being able to picture how circumstances will evolve,” he says in an interview with The Guardian. “I consciously focus on the wider picture and likely consequences, for example in formulating my business strategy. Dyslexia doesn’t impede my ability to see and analyze things – I may simply see them differently from other people.”

Lexercise provides children with the tools they will need to be successful in the real world, helping with the “school stuff” so they can go on and build upon their natural talents.

 

Teaching Dyslexic Students: A Guide

How to Correct Your Child Without Discouraging them (11)Unfortunately, public school educators are usually overwhelmed with the amount of children in their class so they cannot take the time to alter their techniques for everyone. They are forced to stick with teaching styles that will help the majority of students. But as a parent, you’re only interested is in one student– you’re own. Here are some things you can discuss with your child’s teacher in order for him or her to get the most out of their classroom experience.

  • Ask the teacher if they can provide a handout of their lesson for your child to reference during the teachings. This way they can follow along with visual cues, and they can go back to the outline when they get home. The information is more likely to go from short term memory to long term memory.
  • Ask the teacher to check if your child has written their homework down correctly. Add that it would be helpful to make sure that your child has the appropriate worksheets and books needed at the end of the day.
  • Tell your child to take down the number of some of their friends. This way they can become homework buddies and help each other if one has forgotten what the homework tasks were. Make sure these numbers are stored in a safe place. If your child is too young to get phone numbers, ask the teacher for some parents’ phone numbers.
  • Ask the teacher to use the board to communicate messages and day to day classroom activities instead of sending them verbally. This will benefit all students by adding a visual element to tasks that need to be remembered.
  • 13584535514_c2bb726231When your child gets home, work with them to create a to-do list for the evening. Do this with the intent of eventually having them create their own to-do list without assistance.
  • Ask the teacher to make sure your child sits at the front of the classroom. This way distractions will be minimized and it will be easy for the teacher to see if your child is struggling.

In addition to these tips, check out what Lexercise has to offer your child here. We guarantee a grade level increase within the first two months or we pay for the third. Don’t be discouraged, there is help for your child!

Special Education Categories in School

Special Education Categories in School - LexerciseIf your child has dyslexia, the school system may throw some words at you that have different meanings in different contexts. We want to make sure you are equipped with the best information before you make decisions that affect your child’s education. Let’s review the different categories of Special Education.

 

What is Special Education?

Special education is the practice of educating students with special educational needs in a way that is designed to address their individual differences and needs. A federal law, The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that public schools provide special education (with an Individual Education Plan or IEP) to eligible students, but not every struggling student is eligible.  Eligibility requires that the student’s school performance be “adversely affected” by a disability in one of 13 specified categories:

  1. specific learning disability – includes reading and writing disorders like dyslexia
  2. other health impairment –  includes attention and executive function disorders
  3. autism spectrum disorder
  4. emotional disturbance
  5. speech or language impairment
  6. visual impairment
  7. deafness
  8. hearing impairment
  9. deaf-blindness
  10. orthopedic impairment – includes cerebral palsy
  11. intellectual disability
  12. traumatic brain injury
  13. multiple disabilities 

 

Specific Learning Disability 

Special Education Statistics

Specific learning disability (SLD) is the category that dyslexia and dysgraphia fall under for purposes of public school special education services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines a specific learning disability as “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations.”  SLD is the largest special education category, and an estimated 80% of students with SLD have a reading impairment.

Many struggling readers are not eligible for public school special education services. While about 14% of students are eligible for special education services, 25-33% of students read at a below basic level.2   

Dyslexia is more common than you may think, with 15-20% of the school population showing symptoms. If your child has not been diagnosed but is showing symptoms, take our dyslexia screener here for free.

 


1 What Is Specific Learning Disorder? American Psychiatric Association, Retrieved March 28,2022. 

2 White, T. G., Sabatini, J. P., & White, S. (2021). What Does “Below Basic” Mean on NAEP Reading? Educational Researcher, 50(8), 570–573.

Schools Cater to Average Intelligence

How to Correct Your Child Without Discouraging them (6)
Our society bases so much on “the average”– especially education. But, what if the needs of the average student are not synonymous with the needs of your child? Equality is important socially, but treating everyone the same is not effective from an educational standpoint.

If the institution is not set up correctly to accommodate your child, it is doing your child a huge disservice.

The institution of public schools bases their education techniques on age, not ability. If a child does not fit the “average intelligence” for their age group, they are held back to be subject to the same teaching styles that did not work for them the first time.

An article taken from an excerpt of  What Do We Lose By Measuring ‘Average’ In Education? by Todd Rose explained the concept of “equal access” and why is it not right for education.

“But equal access suffers from one major shortcoming: it aims to maximize individual opportunity on average by ensuring that everyone has access to the same standardized system, whether or not that system actually fits.”

3537327425_e10671258a_oHe continues by explaining that despite personalized learning getting a lot of hype recently, nothing is being done to transform the traditional school system.

Public Schools are based entirely on the notion of “grade level” which is deeply rooted in the concept of average.

“We continue to enforce a curriculum that defines not only what students learn, but also how, when, at what pace, and in what order they learn it,” Rose said.

Lexercise recognizes this and intentionally strays from public school’s teaching strategies in order to personalize each student’s experience. We are competency-based. Each therapist develops a personal relationship with the student so that they can tailor their style and pace. Our system is not linear, each of our structured literacy experts uses a “multi pathway” curriculum to be most effective.

Learning and Memory-What Works? The Method Depends on the Task

What Works- #2Universities have been offering psychology courses for over 140 years, since the 1870s. You may have even taken one of these courses. Do you remember the principles of learning and memory from your college Psych 101 course?

Decades of research can guide us in how to be smart consumers of products and services that claim to improve learning and memory.   

Over the next weeks I’ll be reviewing four principles for improving memory and learning based on this research consensus, and I’ll explain how each principle is used in Lexercise therapy.

The Best Method Depends on the Task.

 

school-1063556_1920There’s no one type of practice that works well for all types of learning and for all conditions. The best method depends on the task to be mastered.   For example, the type of practice that works best for reading may not be the best for spelling. The best type of practice for vocabulary is unlikely to be the most helpful for learning to formulate clear sentences. A curriculum should provide practice using different types of activities and contexts, especially when the learning task is something as complex and multi-faceted as reading and writing.

 

Lexercise interweaves all the elements of skilled reading and writing in each session, from speech-to-print:

speech sounds > letters > spelling patterns > meaningful word parts > vocabulary  >  sentences   >   text


Throughout the week, reading, spelling and writing practice is provided through many different types of activities, including games, review videos, and interactive, table-top activities. Teaching parents along with kids means parents can take advantage of teaching opportunities that come up in the course of everyday life between instructional sessions.

Lexercise understands the variety of reading, spelling and writing tasks demanded in today’s schools, universities and workplaces. That is why we include computer-based practice games and brief, parent-facilitated activities that encourage questioning,  conversation, critical thinking and application.

Finding the best practice method starts with a deep understanding of the material to be learned and the context where it is to be used.  Lexercise therapists can help!

You can screen your child for dyslexia in 10-15 minutes here >>>

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you read part one and three in the series. You can read the first here and the third here.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com- Neeta Lind “IMG_3639

Famous Dyslexics: Sports

Famous Dyslexics- Sports

Dyslexics can often thrive on the court or field more than they do in the classroom. For students that fall behind in the classroom, sports can equal out the playing field.  Dyslexics are sometimes seen as outcasts in school and their self-esteem suffers because of this. The chance to be on a team with their classmates makes them feel included. Sports also offer struggling students a positive escape from hard homework and poor grades. These famous dyslexics have become most known for their athletic accomplishments!

 

Dyslexics who triumphed in sports

Magic Johnson

“All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them.”

picture of magic johnsonFor Earvin “Magic” Johnson, basketball wasn’t merely a game. The five-time NBA champion, who received his famous nickname after scoring 36 points in a high school game, found his success story on the courts – not in the classroom. Johnson struggled with dyslexia in school and took summer classes in order to stay caught up. As a young boy, he was judged by both his classmates and advisers. While others had low expectations, Johnson saw the potential he had as a basketball player. In order to secure a spot on the Michigan State University team, the young player dedicated his early mornings to practicing his sport. Two years after enrolling in college, Johnson was drafted into the NBA where he would go on to win five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also a part of the United States’ gold medal basketball team at the 1992 Olympics.

 

Muhammad Ali

“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”

picture of Muhammad AliWorld heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali fought hard in the ring as well as in the classroom. Diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, Ali struggled with reading. He barely graduated from high school and never felt smart. He hated reading but loved to fight. A local law enforcement agent noticed the remarkable drive and energy that Ali had and later acted as the young boy’s boxing mentor. Ali grew up to become an incredible athlete, winning world championships and gold medals at the Olympics. Today, Muhammad, in collaboration with his wife, runs a program called “Go the Distance”, which aims to improve the literacy of young African Americans. He says his struggles with academics only motivated him to work harder for success.

Tim Tebow

“You can be extremely bright and still have dyslexia. You just have to understand how you learn and how you process information.”

picture of Tim TebowThe public eye is used to seeing NFL quarterback Tim Tebow tackle his opponents, but off the field, he spends time tackling the symptoms of his dyslexia. By looking at his high 3.7 GPA and the healthy study habits he exhibited while at the University of Florida, it would be hard to tell that the now free agent was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of seven. Tebow’s father and brother both struggled with the learning disability, so the symptoms Tim displayed were nothing unfamiliar to this family. Tebow says his dyslexia makes it hard for him to sift through large amounts of information in order to make a clear decision. He learns best from hands-on experience, rather than diagrams or game plans. In order to memorize complicated playbooks, Tebow makes his own flashcards to study up on plays before the big games. His dedication and willingness to put in extra behind-the-scenes work are what have helped the football player win multiple awards and honors for both his collegiate and professional football career.

 

Meryl Davis

“I learned how I learned and how my brain worked.  It helped me adjust and compensate for my differences…. It opened me up to problem-solving, seeing things differently, and how I can help myself overcome things.”

picture of Meryl DavisMeryl Davis often stays quiet about her dyslexia. She’s not embarrassed, but the world champion figure skater wants her skating to take the main stage. Meryl began ice skating at the age of five and was diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade. While she shined on the ice, she secretly struggled with self-esteem and often viewed herself as unintelligent. She had a hard time reading throughout high school but successfully graduated as a member of the National Honors Society. After high school, the figure skater continued on to pursue a college education at the University of Michigan. When the 2014 Sochi Olympics rolled around, Meryl and her dance partner of 17 years were determined to reap the benefits of their demanding workouts and travel schedules. Their risky routine paid off, and together they became the first American Ice Dancers to medal in gold. Davis says her dyslexia is what helped her develop a remarkable character. After taking the time to understand how her mind works best, she has become more patient with herself. Although her skating career is currently on hold, she continues to work towards getting her degree in cultural anthropology.

Ensure your child’s success by getting them the help they need. You can screen your child for dyslexia with our free dyslexia screener. 

 

Jennifer Aniston says dyslexia diagnosis was life-changing

picture of actress Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston reveals she’s dyslexic

Hollywood star, Jennifer Aniston, admits that being diagnosed with dyslexia in her 20s was life-changing.

In an interview with Stephen Galloway, the 45 year old actress said the discovery was made while getting prescription glasses.

“I had to read a paragraph, and they gave me a quiz, gave me 10 questions based on what I’d just read,” Ms. Aniston told the magazine.

“I think I got three right.”

Ms. Aniston is one of 62 million people in the U.S. with dyslexia.

“I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, drama were explained.”

The actress who featured in the popular sitcom Friends and movies Just Go With It and Horrible Bosses, said that having difficulties reading and writing impacted her education and self-image.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, almost 80 percent of children who are categorized with learning disabilities in the United States fall somewhere on the dyslexia spectrum.

If you are concerned your child is dyslexic too take our free dyslexia test now.

 

Photo Credit: “JenniferAnistonHWoFFeb2012” by Angela George. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Live Broadcast 42: Evernote for the Dyslexic Brain

picture of Ron Toledo

Ron Toledo, Senior Marketing Manager at Evernote, joined us to discuss how Evernote helps dyslexics and people with ADHD maximize their big-picture thinking. He showed participants how Evernote can be used to keep school, work, and home information in a format that works for dyslexics and people with ADHD.

Here at Lexercise we love Evernote, and part of our treatment is to teach dyslexics how to use Evernote in the way that works for them.

 

Watch the video below with our founder and Chief Knowledge Office, Sandie Barrie Blackley and Ron Toledo.

 

If you have any questions or need additional information about our services, you can email us at Info@Lexercise.com.

Live Broadcast 37: Math-U-See for Struggling Readers and Writers

Steve Demme, Author and Founder of Math-U-See joined us to discuss what makes Math-U-See effective for struggling readers and writers.

Steve is a former math teacher who has taught at all levels of math in public and private schools. Steve’s goal with Math-U-See is to help produce confident problem solvers who enjoy the study of math.

Homeschool families considering math curricula for their struggling readers and writers as well as other families interested in helping their children with math will enjoy this engaging webinar.

Broadcast 36: Creating High Quality Instruction in Teaching Reading

picture of Elisabeth LiptakElisabeth (Liz) Liptak is the Professional Services Director for the International Dyslexia Association, and joined us to discuss the IDA’s Knowledge & Practice Standards. She talked about how the IDA Standards can help teachers and parents recognize what to look for in high-quality reading instruction and how parents can get the help they need for their children who struggle with reading, spelling, and writing.

The IDA Standards serve as a guide to teachers and parents for selecting effective programs and methods for teaching children with dyslexia. Liz Liptak discussed how the Standards guide effective instruction, what teachers and clinicians need to know and be able to do to deliver effective intervention. The Standards provide guidance in the use of structured literacy in an intervention program. An effective program provides daily, structured practice in the following areas:

1. Phonology
2. Phonics and Word Study
3. Fluent, Automatic Reading of Text
4. Vocabulary
5. Text Comprehension
6. Handwriting, Spelling, Written Expression

Liz Liptak was formerly the Executive Director of the Washington Literacy Council, a community-based direct service program in Washington DC that served struggling adult readers and younger children. Liz also worked for two years on a reading research project at the Krasnow Institute, which was funded by the Department of Education. Liz has been a reading tutor since 1989, most recently in the DC Public Schools. Liz works closely with the IDA Board’s Standards and Practices Committee.

Click here to download the presentation for this Live Broadcast in pdf format.