Web Browsing Fonts for People with Dyslexia

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Research is starting to point toward ways of making text easier to read for people with Dyslexia.  This can be a change in font, size, color and even letter spacing.  Recently a font that has been getting some buzz is Open-Dyslexic.  More information can be found here.

I am always impressed by people creating tools to make the world a better place for others and then sharing it free of charge.  This is just the case with Open-Dyslexic.  This font can be downloaded for use in word processing or creating materials.

If you are a Mac user or Safari Browser user however, there is a very quick add-on that can change the fonts you see on websites as well to utilize this font.

When in Safari, click on Safari in the tool bar at the top.  From there click on Safari Extensions…

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A webpage will open with a list of extensions.  Use the left side category options and select Productivity.

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Next scroll down until you see the extension Open-Dyslexic.   Click on Install Now.

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It is as simple as that.  You should now see all text in Safari using Open-Dyslexic.  There is also helpful shading to differentiate the lines.  Hope this helps.

Preparing your child with Autism for travel

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I was reading an article by Miss Rorey about traveling with your child with Autism.  This post is specific to airplanes, but I think the ideas can be used whenever you are traveling for a distance or even preparing to be waiting for an appointment.  The key take home from this post is to be prepared.  Practice skills  in a safe environment, and slowly generalize these learned skills to new environments.

This is the same process we use when working with behaviors in the classroom.  Many times, we have to practice appropriate behaviors in a safer, easier environment first.  This way we can build up the student’s confidence by having them experience success, then slowly fading to more difficult environments.

Whether you are planing on a road trip, airline flight, or just a long wait in a crowded waiting room, take a look at this blog post first.  If you find success, use these same principles in other areas of your child’s life.

Miss Rorey 

Parent Communication Forms

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One thing I always try to improve on in teaching is my communication with parents.  I love when parents are involved in their children’s education, and I want to make sure that I can keep them informed without spending too much of my work time on writing notes home.

For some of our families, when their child comes home from school they can ask them about their day.  They can talk about the fun new science project they did where they made their own cloud in a jar.  Or tell their parents that during their spelling activity they were bored and needed to move on.  Parents can get a basic idea of a classroom from the way their students perceive it.  But not all of our students are verbal.  When I was teaching in a young Autism specific classroom, 75% of my students communicated with picture communication systems and alternative argumentative communication devices.  This form of communication was still in it’s most basic stages and was mostly being used for requesting.  Parents were unable to ask their students about their day.  They had no idea what was happening in the classroom during the week unless they were able to communicate with me.  We needed to set up a simple system that allowed us to get the basics of the week that included academics, behavior, and communication.

Parent Communication Collaboration

To save time we created a simple checklist of items that parents wanted to know about, and items that I wanted them to know about.  This was all about collaboration.  Just like creating the IEP for the students, parents and teachers need to continue to work together throughout the year.  Sometimes I would be surprised to find out a parent wanted to know the times of the day their student used the toilet.  I tend to take a ton of data in my classroom, so these requests were not difficult.  Here is an example of a basic checklist.  If parents had access to the internet I just emailed these to them which is great because it keeps a record of communication.  If the parents needed the hard copy, I would make a copy for my records and one to be sent home.  It not only keeps track for the parents, but also for the teacher.  Always keep records of your communication.

Parent Daily Communication Form

Connecting Parents Before the IEP

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Pre-IEP Parent Questionnaire

As special educators, part of our job is to collaborate with a team on each student’s program.  This team can include many people from teachers, administration, specialists, and parents.

We have to make sure that the parent is involved from the very beginning.  This starts before the IEP is written and assessments completed.  An easy way to help parents get involved is by asking them to fill out a questionnaire.  This can give great insight to what their expectations are for you and what they expect for their child.  This is just the first step to better involvement and showing parents that they will be taking an active role in their child’s education.

Here is a short example of a possible parent IEP questionnaire.  Take from this or add to it what you would like.  Give me any feedback you have about your thoughts or experience with using a questionnaire prior to the planing stages of the educational program.