Over-Reliance on assistive technology? The program today looks into EQAO, Assistive tech. in todays classrooms and if it is helping our students who are labeled with learning disabilities. Take a listen below. www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-45
I emailed them and hopefully I can go on air to speak about my experience. Read the email below to learn a bit about my childhood and young adult experience living and learning with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and ADHD.
Very interesting show, on today’s (October 5, 2021) Ontario Today. I'm glad that this topic is getting air time. I am a dyslexic (3D’s + ADHD) female young adult, first generation Canadian. I am now a teacher and literacy specialist who has opened my own practice to help families in Northwestern Ontario get access to literacy help in-person and digitally. I would love the chance to speak on air about my experience as a child as part of the crop of students that are neurodiverse and went through the Ontario education system between 1996- mid 2010's. Just when technology was making an appearance in accommodations at school, and as now an educator working with students and families on their learning journey. These students are families from indigenous Canadian, settler Canadian, and new Canadian backgrounds. Below is a little about me and my journey.
As a child I wasn’t taught how to read until grade 6 and was illiterate in 2 languages. I come from a immigrant family where we spoke Spanish at home. I was lucky enough to have a tenacious mother and father who advocated for me diligently and after trial and error of about 4+ different intervention programs found the one that worked for me. I don’t know how they did it, as we did not have a lot of money, but I attended intensive extra school during my lunch times during grade 6 for about 1 year and went from illiterate to literate (able to decode and encode English) in that time. Of course during regular school I got mercilessly bullied, as it was middle school after all, and I would go somewhere else during lunch. In the end it was worth everything, the only reason I am where I am today is because of that program. The school system scared me throughly and I still deeply hate school and writing, funny that I have now hopped the fence teach. I repressed and internally blocked up my experience for the last 20 years and am only now able to start poking at that festered scar left in my soul. A lot of the time the mental health piece is ignored when someone is labeled with a learning disability, I want to mention that seeking help does not mean your weak, it does come back to haunt you over and over again as an adult, be it through Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria or Depression or Anxiety. I personally have been building the courage to seek help over the last year and a half… I have yet to actually go out an do it though, I’ll get there.
I went through university and I still have challenges with writing, reading, and spelling. I vowed to never let another student fall through the cracks and experience what I did growing up. This lead me to become a teacher and outdoor educator. I fuse teaching literacy and the outdoors as well as movement into my lessons. This gives the knowledge several places to be recalled in the brain when the child is asked to read, write or spell they can recall the information for several places. I opened up a clinic in Thunder Bay, Ontario called Naturally Literate in COVID to meet the needs of the students in Northwestern Ontario. I am now a teacher and Literacy specialist teaching students with learning challenges how to read through systematic system based approach using phonemic awareness training and the science of reading. I now spend my days working with students digitally and in person who are neurodiverse as well as advocating for families and sharing resources with other Canadian families nationally.
But what happens once a student is finished the school system and enters the adult world?
There is a need for conversation surrounding “What now”. “What now”, a student has gone through the educational system and or post-secondary, the supports that we given have now elapsed or were given and the individual was never shown how to incorporate it into their daily lives. A lot of the time there is this mysticism told to students and families that when your finished school and become a “real adult” things will get better/easier but what if that is not the case?
For example I gave up on math as the numbers move on me and I still get migraines when trying to do my budgets. The amount of anxiety I deal with when entering e-transfer or doing online billing is exhausting as I have in the past sent money where I reversed the numbers, even though check the document many times and pressed sent. Only to be horrified when instead of $100.00 leaves my bank account, $1000.00 goes instead. What if we taught students math’s correctly, systematically, with specific cumulative processes? Would that be my reality? I use technology daily to help me with calculations and am deeply grateful for it.
All this to say that neurodiverisities don’t magically go away; at times the strategies one’s learnt in school to help or assistive technology fall short.
For example when one is emotionally triggered, tired, hungry their neurodiveristy makes a bold reappearance. Of course these reappearances occur at a super inopportune time, like a board meeting where one is presenting; all of a sudden it didn’t matter you spent the last 15 hours prepping, when someone asks you a question you can not answer it. Your mind goes blank. You look bad in front of your peers/boss/sponsor, they doubt you even prepared… internally you are blasted back to all those damaging experience you had at school where you were told you didn’t know/ were stupid/ couldn’t ____ / Shouldn’t try because ____/ etc….
If we, as a society, eliminate those damaging formative moments when people are children learning how to read by implementing research based systematic approach to reading, writing, and spelling English then who is to say what we as a society will accomplish.
I would love the opportunity to speak on Ontario Today to chat about, my experience, what teaching in the school system is like, what teaching privately has given my students, and what it is like for an adult with 3D’s + ADHD working in this new world of Technology assisted life.
I am looking forward to speaking with you. I can be best reached at by email or phone. email@example.com or 807-707-3674
I am very happy to announce that Naturally Literate has our first graduate! After 18 months of very hard work H.K. has completed the Reading Remediation program.
At the beginning of grade 8, H.K. began his journey learning how to decode and encode the English language. Starting at a grade 3/4 reader and speller, H.K. worked very hard in our one-on-one classes 3-5 times a week during 2019-2020. COVID was not a barrier as we continued with digital distance classes increasing the frequency of our lessons to fast track H.K. over the summer to prepare him for Highschool. With hard work and specialized instruction H.K. was able to go from a struggling reader/speller decode books at the grade 4 level to achieving language fluency and confidently able to keep up with his grade 9 class.
I hope that you continue to strive for the stars and share your brilliance with the world. I can not wait to see what you achieve.
Julia (Ms. Postigo)
Have you heard of Stealth Dyslexia? I hadn't either until I read this article by The Dyslexia Initiative.
Here is a little excerpt;
"STEALTH DYSLEXIAPeople with stealth dyslexia have problems sounding out (or decoding) words just like those with "classic" dyslexia, yet typically their scores on tests where reading comprehension is measured are typically above average, or even quite strong."-The Dyslexia Initiative
Check out the full article, it short and a good informative read.
"Mical" is a powerful film about a young boys struggle with Dyslexia and his mothers tenacity to find a way to teach him how to read.
Very much worth a view. Click on the link below
This is an excellent link to explain Orthographic mapping.
"Orthographic mapping; the process by which we store written words in our long-term memory, for quick retrieval at a later time. This concept was first described by Linnea Ehri, who explains it as creating links that “glue” spelling to the pronunciation of words in long-term memory. To create these links, we need to be very good at two things:
The article goes into further details about the ways various drills help solidify Orthographic mapping in the brain.
The reading remediation lessons offered at Naturally Literate retrain the brain to achieve fluency. Check out our services page for more details.
By: Julia Postigo-Rombola
Aug. 1, 2020
Once upon a time there was a woman and she smiled.
She had just crawl up onto shore after a long swim.
When had it began raining? She wasn't certain.
Sprawling out on the rock she stretched her limbs, it felt good to use them again. How long had it been since she last swam, really swam?
Funny how life slips by faster and faster as one grows. Distractions easily teasing ones attention here and there.
She felt the rain patter on her skin, plick-plick-plick. It felt so good, like 1000 tiny massages falling from the sky. The warm rain soothed her worked muscles.
She felt the wind caress her face, like a mother who hadn't seen her child in so very many years. Caring, loving, tender. Her little body hair reached out for more.
She heard the the leaves sign to her from their tall balconies high above everything else, the adagio delivering the perfect pace to natures melodic masterpiece. The song clearing out her mental clutter until it filled the space and sang through her.
She lay on the Canadian shield, its stored warmth of summer seeping into her bones and banishing the weeks, months, years, of overworked technological distractions. Joints popped and sighed as the contour of her body melted and relaxed.
She smelt the intoxicating bouquet the soft pitter patter unlocked from the mishomis rocks, their's hidden secrets released once again into the atmosphere.
As she inhaled the deep sent of warm summer rain and hot shield rock, that humid tangy scent wove down through her core awakening a slumbering peace locked in her marrow.
The thrum of her heart beat, Lub Thub, fell in tune with the rock,
and the rain.
Her heart smiled.
What fantastic medicine she thought.
She was home.
Take the time to remember the magic that surround us everyday. We are from the earth and to the earth we shall return, make sure you take the time to meet her while you journey through as well.
A profound gratitude goes out to Lake Superior for its healing waters. I feel blessed to be able to swim in her crystal clear water. She is still clean and safe. Take a moment to reflect,
What are the bodies of water around you?
Where are they?
Are they healthy or sick?
What can you do to heal them or keep them healthy? Remember we are made of water. Water is life.
Happy August everyone.
Love, Light, and Laughter.
I am a teacher and an environmentalist. I am a dyslexic. I have ADHD. This summer I challenged myself to write stories, to practice weaving stories. With hidden barriers, it is a monumental challenge I set for myself. Today I choose to see the side of light. Everything has two sides. Which side will you see. Remember, You are not alone.
#wildwomansisterhood #wild #boreal #environmentalteacher #Ontario #waterwarrior #lakesuperior #dyslexia #adhdadults #naturallyliterate
Good morning Families,
Very Exciting news!
This student Scholarship was just released. It is for students who have been diagnosed with Specific Learning Disabilities (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia) to receive financial aid so that they can find the needed literacy help.
Can be used to reimburse
Please take a moment to fill out the application if you are interested. Deadline is May 31, 2020
Update: I am offering Distance Digital Learning for reading remediation. Classes are on the Zoom Platform and are one-on-one digitally secure classes.
Please see https://www.naturallyliterate.org for more information.
Happy spring and have a wonderful weekend.
The Human Right Commission's inquiry is students Right To Read has now released an additional survey for Educators and other professionals.
Please take the moment to answer the survey so that students who need reading help can access it, hopefully in the not so distant future.
This survey is for educators and other professionals, including teachers, principals, tutors, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, psychologists and social workers, to share their perspectives.
Please feel free to distribute the survey link through your networks.
Follow this link to complete the educator survey: Take the Survey
Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
The survey is also available on our website.
The survey will be available until June 1, 2020.
Links to News Release: "OHRC to engage educators and professionals for its Right to Read inquiry" (EN)
"La CODP fait participer les éducateurs et les professionnels à son enquête Le droit de lire" (FR)
Anyone having difficulty or who needs help completing the survey can contact the OHRC at 416-314-4547 and leave a voicemail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The OHRC is continuing to monitor emails and voicemail messages related to the inquiry, although there may be some delays in responding.
Nature is full of Surprises! Every day, no matter where you live, you can see small, amazing things in nature. You can spot them going for a walk, going to the grocery store, or looking out the window. You can even be surprised in your own house, like finding a spider in the shower! These unexpected moments of wonder are free, simple, and often happen quickly, so keep your eyes peeled and your senses alert!
In the spirit of Surprises, let us play a game of scavenger hunt! Spring is here and with it all sorts of wonders are beginning to emerge from the ground. Let us see what you can find on an evening walk.
I spied a cluster of Snowdrops! They look like this. What did you spy?? Send me your favourite discovery over the weekend by email as a picture or drawing. Happy hunting and remember to respect nature and each other by keeping a good distance.
Attached is a scavenger hunting sheet. Good Luck!