From tracking Fuel points to battling bad guys online, McGonigal encourages all of us to take life a little less seriously. She says that sometimes all it takes is a good game to bring a positive shift in your day, helping to ward off stress and frustration, and boost productivity.
On Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, the Big Picture Film Team sent out a “Dyslexia Alert” e-mail in regard to the removal of dyslexia from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to be published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the manual used by mental health professionals for a diagnosis of mental and neurodevelopmental disorders.
The DSM-5 is scheduled to be published in May 2013 and it is the first major update that the manual has undergone since 1994. The Roman numerals which had been attached to DSM since its second edition (i.e. previous DSM-IV) is being changed in order to use the manual in the new technological environment “of the 21st century”.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 Development website, the DSM-5 “is intended to be a manual for assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders and will not include information or guidelines for treatment for any disorder.”
The documentary, “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia,” written and directed by James Redford is an honest, intelligent and even humorous look at dyslexia. The film follows Redford’s son, Dylan, his early struggles to read and efforts to attend a highly competitive university. Among others it also features well-known and highly successful dyslexics, Gavin Newsome, David Boies, Sir Richard Branson and Charles Schwab. Films about dyslexia often focus on the negative. You’ll learn all about kids who struggled with self-esteem, who thought they were intellectually inferior, who squeaked through school and obtained a diploma if they were lucky. This film is filled with hope. As Redford put it, “had I seen this movie when Dylan was functionally illiterate in fourth grade, I would have been spared an extraordinary amount of anxiety about the future.” Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, explain the neuroscience behind dyslexia as well as the critical thinking skills and creativity dyslexics possess. Redford notes, “It would be heartbreaking if your formative opinion of your abilities and intelligence is solely shaped by a struggle to read.”
It may take the patience of Gandhi, but it can be done.
"....A kid with EFD is easy to spot. His desk is crammed with papers, dissected pens and old, sticky fruit rollups. He is frantically pawing through all his folders and looking in the bottom of his backpack for homework he swears he did the night before. He hasn’t noticed everyone else has gotten out their textbooks and are busy annotating chapter three. He will inevitably start his poster on the American Revolution the night before it's due, leave the assignment sheet at school, and make his mother go to Walmart at 10 p.m. to get the poster board and stick-on letters he absolutely needs.
How do we take this mess and make a good student out of him? Well, it’s a process that may take the patience of Gandhi and a good sense of humor, but it can be done. It is imperative that parents and teachers work together to teach and reinforce effective strategies. These strategies should be introduced in the classroom and practiced at home. Here are some ideas you can try at home to help your child:...."
Money is available for prospective and current college students with issues such as dyslexia or ADHD.
The Rise Scholarship Foundation, is a great place to start. Their website features a ton of articles and resources specifically for LD students, covering everything from navigating the Common Application for Undergraduate College Admission to keeping yourself engaged in classes.
And, true to its name, the foundation also gives out Rise Award Scholarships each year; in 2012, five students received $2,500 scholarship awards. If you're currently a high school senior, head over and apply before February 15 for your chance to win a 2013 scholarship.
Like the Rise Awards, the Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships are available to students across the nation who have a diagnosed learning disability. Presented by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, these are highly competitive awards, and well worth the time it will take to apply.
The Anne Ford Scholarship is a four-year renewable award, worth $2,500 each year; the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship is a newer program and provides a one-time $2,500 award to a student attending a two-year community college, technical or vocational school, or specialized program for LD students. (The NCLD website also lists a number of smaller and more specific programs on its site.)
Review of "...recent research findings in reading disorder (dyslexia). These studies estimated the prevalence of dyslexia at approximately 10% of children with rates in boys nearly twice that of girls. Twin studies show a significant genetic contribution to the risk for dyslexia. Brain imaging studies show deficits in the structure and function of inferior parietal and supramarginal gray matter regions in those with dyslexia. Brain imaging is beginning to be used as a tool to direct and monitor the effect of psychological treatment. Real-time fMRI appears to be a promising approach to individualizing psychotherapy in PTSD and other brain disorders.
The important findings from this study included:
• Students demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in reading skills such as phonemic awareness, real and pseudo word reading and passage comprehension
• Brain gray matter volumes increased between 2 and 4 percent in the left fusiform/hippocampus, left precuneus, right hippocampus and right cerebellum regions after the intervention
• Improvement in reading skills and the increase in brain gray matter volumes persisted 8 weeks after the completion of the intervention The left fusiform brain region has been noted to show deficits in dyslexia in other cross-sectional brain imaging studies. The authors note this region is "commonly engaged in tasks involving object processing and object naming and may suggest that the dyslexic students are relying on this region to improve their processing of words".
Poet Philip Schultz on losing track of nearly everything on the road.
"....I don't mention that I dread airport ticket machines and that I always attempt to find a human being, many of whom are capable of sympathy, to check me in. I don't mention that I don't process announcements of train stations and have to check at every stop to make sure I haven't missed mine. I avoid recounting the arguments I've had with my GPS, which apparently doesn't know its left from its right. Nor do I explain that my anxiety is so powerful I often can't leave my seat in the waiting area to go to a restroom because I fear that the moment I do my flight will board, even though I arrived an hour early. Traveling has always been hell for me, though now at least I know why.
I never feel more alone than when I'm traveling. Alone and, to some extent, helpless. The world expects a certain level of competence and can be merciless when this expectation is unmet.
But somehow I always manage to get to my destination, and on time. The ordeal is mitigated by the fact that my dyslexic son appears to have freed himself of much of this struggle. The self-knowledge that relieves Eli of my frenzied anxiety and self-doubt comes from his early diagnosis. Through educational support and accommodations, he has learned strategies to cope with the challenges of travel, as well as how to use technology for support.
I can't say how much I loved hearing about his getting lost in Paris on a school trip and using his smartphone to find the Best Western where he was staying. Yes, there were seven Best Westerns in the city, and he and his friends went to three before finding theirs, but he led the way—and at the age of 14! A marvel to me. My younger, nondyslexic son has been able navigate our supermarket's checkout scanners since he was 4, using my credit card and winking at me, knowing how astounded I am.
The future appears to be relenting a little for people like me, people for whom the world never previously seemed to be designed. My older son enjoys traveling, I believe. He went to China last year, and still hasn't stopped talking about the Great Wall and those terra-cotta warriors. My wife and I followed his every word on his travel blog with pride and admiration. Especially me."
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