Minecraft and Imagination

The past three young dyslexic clients I have worked with had a passion for ‘Minecraft’. I personally don’t know much about it but always regarded it as a creative and interactive game, harmless and fun. I am not so sure about that any more.

The clients (all boys, ages 8, 9 and 15) all have very poor literacy skills, especially writing and spelling ability. One of them read quite well, but with limited comprehension.

The 8-year old boy couldn’t visualise at all. He wasn’t able to imagine anything (or so he said) and was unable to perceive things on a tactile / kinaesthetic level. No matter the terms I used or how I tried to get a picture, any picture in his mind, I didn’t succeed. His answer surprised me: ‘Why would I imagine it? Everything exists on Minecraft already.’ His writing was very poor.

The 9-year old boy was a good reader, but very disoriented, angry and shows signs of Asperger’s. His outlet: Minecraft. It’s all he ever wants to do. There was little motivation to improve any area of literacy or his behaviour.

The 15-year old boy had motivation, mainly because he wanted to be able to correspond with other gamers and his lack of writing ability stopped him. Reading anything but Minecraft related literature was not desired. His reading and writing ability was seven years below age level. The program was able to reduce the gap. I became his scribe, writing down an essay about the things he wants to be able to write to other people on the game. Then he read the text I had written for him. Eventually we mastered the words he didn’t know or couldn’t spell in clay. Then it was time for him to write the same text. An interesting experience, but worth it. It worked!

Has anybody an experience about Minecraft and literacy?
I am sure it has no negative effect on children who don’t have literacy difficulties.

Focus in Short Spurts

ImageHow to stay focused

Focus is a major part in our Dyslexia world. We always talk about how to get the child to be focused, to stay motivated, to get back on focus and to read, write, or perform any type of school work in a focused state. 

What often gets neglected is the focus of the support person – usually the mum – on the importance of finding that half an hour to one hour a day to help the child after a program. The first couple of months (especially the first one) are critical to make FOLLOW-UP (the reading while on focus, the clay work and the brain gym in the form of ball games)  a priority!

When I saw this article by Joanna Martin, I simply had to share it to help parents manage their time and fit in what really is the most important thing to mothers: the well-being of their child. The reading support will not be required forever, but in the beginning will make all the difference to the future success of their child – at school and in life.

KEEP THE FOCUS SHORT TO GET MORE THINGS DONE

It’s easy to get stuck and de-motivated when you are snowed under with work. There’s a mountain of things that need doing and they are all begging for your attention… and then there’s the family too. How can you keep your focus and motivation high?

However you can easily turn this to your advantage… by getting super focused and utilising short bursts of energy on your tasks.

Get focused

When you only have a small window of time available it forces you to focus on the task at hand. You cannot afford to be sidetracked by social media, emails and reorganising your files.

Decide on what is top priority and dedicate all your attention to it for the time you have. When you get super focused on a specific task you will be more productive.

Why short focus is better

Using short bursts of focused energy is great for when you are feeling less than motivated. Quite often we procrastinate and put off things that we need to do, because we don’t enjoy them or because we are intimidated by the sheer size of the task at hand.

By giving yourself a small window of time and getting focused on a task, you are more likely to actually put in the work… after all, putting aside a matter of minutes, rather than hours, is so much less daunting.

 

Break time

Once your allotted time is over, you’re more likely to have a break. When you’re sat at your desk working all day on a particular task, it is easy to lose track of time and, before you know it, you haven’t actually had a break for several hours.

Taking regular breaks is essential, not only to your health but to your motivation and productivity too.

So next time you’re up against a pile of work or a child that is under the weather, try short bursts of focus and see how much more you can achieve in your working day.

Do you prefer working with short bursts of focused energy or do you work better with long time slots for your tasks? Have you been in a situation where you had to work with short bursts of focused energy, and now you’re using them all the time? Share what works for you by leaving a comment below.

 
 

Reading for Dyslexics

Sam reading Harry Potter on his last day of the course. It shows the three ways of reading, the last one being for comprehension. It’s a good idea to ask specific questions to make sure the reader understands 100 % of the material, without having to read over the text several times.

It will be a wonderful preparation for Sam when he is off to High School in a few year’s time and his brain will already be accustomed to paying attention to every detail of the text he is reading.

At school Sam was told to stop at a full stop and take a breath. That’s good advice, but making a movie in their head is even better. For visual learners this is the best way to remember things they are reading.

Spelling Fun and husband in trouble

ImageSpelling:

“It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.”

– Andrew Jackson

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However, if spelling is a problem, you could have one, too… like this husband, who found himself in hot water, with this note:

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