Friday, September 28, 2007

Give 1 Get 1 : One laptop per child

Here's a great opportunity to help your child with writing struggles and another child in another country gain access to technology.

From what I have read the XO is a child friendly, rugged, power friendly laptop that could aide children with fine motor issues.

Here's the link to give 1 get 1 limited opportunity during Nov.
You also should google around and read the various reviews written by young people explaining advantages and drawbacks of this computer to see if it meets your child's needs. My guess is it would certainly meet some of most children's needs and that's a good enough reason to participate because the knock on effect will also be felt by children with less access to technology around the world. The keyboard looks very child friendly.

Another autism study

From today's NY TIMES The matter is far from settled based on these results.

Yet another study has found that a controversial vaccine preservative appears to be harmless. But the study is unlikely to end the increasingly charged debate about vaccine safety.

Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years (NEJM)The study examined whether thimerosal — a mercury-containing vaccine preservative that was almost entirely eliminated from childhood vaccines by 2002 — is associated with neurological or certain psychological problems in children ages 7 to 10.

Friday, September 14, 2007

School testing regime attacked

Piece from The Independent:

In a new book, Making Minds, Dr Kelley says of increasing A-level and GCSE pass rates: "English education was not improving steadily over all these years. Examination boards' income depended on schools choosing their qualifications. Schools' income depended on parents thinking their results were improving: so schools would switch examinations if things did not go well.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Do primary schools let boys down?

BBC feature on boys and education
By the age of seven more than a quarter of boys need special help with their education, the latest figures show.
Is there something inherently wrong with a large chunk of one of the sexes - or are primary schools simply letting boys down?

It has long been known that male and female brains are different - that they mature at different rates and develop in different ways.

You only need to look at the way very young boys and girls play to see that often they like different things and approach things in different ways.

Read the rest here

Monday, September 3, 2007

KIDSPIRATION -- a terrific aide for written output problems

A few readers have written to me describing children struggling with verbal output as well as written. We've just discovered KIDSPIRATION software and it's a terrific aide for any process that involves delivering ideas aloud or onto the page.

The experience of feeling stuck can be very demoralising for children, but once you demonstrate a fathomable path to finding and realizing ideas I've found spirits quickly lift. ("I started with nothing and I have found my way to something...")

Over the next months I will be documenting the experience of working with this software Kidspiration and the ways in which we've found it helpful.

I can immediately observe that this software would make a huge difference to visual learners because the child can literally grab various visual images and build stories. It's also excellent for telling stories within a picture using short phrases or single words to spur ideas. There are many other possiblities with this particular program. Previously I had used the adult version in my own work and found it helpful for organzing ideas or for kicking writers block, but had never tried the kids version with my child until now.

I can also see that if a child is facing down an intimidating task like a book report and they announce that they have nothing to say about the book, that generating ideas with this software would make the task a great deal more joyful.

More generally it instills the idea into a child that process matters and is enjoyable and necessary. The sensible folks at Kidspiration even offer a free trial

The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada asks governments to endorse new policy statement

OTTAWA -- (press release) In recognition of the daily struggle of over 3,000,000 Canadians who have learning disabilities, the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada today releases its new Policy Statement on Educational Accommodations for
Individuals with Learning Disabilities who continue to fall through the cracks
of Canada's educational system.

Full statement here: