Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finland Education System - Video

Why are schools in Finland so successful? They are obviously doing something right.

We're about to see a transformation of education in America. It won't happen over night, and we don't even know what it will look like yet. But it's beginning.

We've placed too much emphasis on teaching to the test and not enough on teachers and students. Provide them with tools, not tests. Give them a curriculum that fuels their imagination and prepares them to be successful in life, not just on a test.

And while we're at it, make it a little more fun. It just might engage them, instill in them a "want" to learn, and lower the dropout rate.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Brain: The Inside Story" Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York

It weighs only 3 lbs, yet has the capacity to think, rationalize, and control almost every aspect of our lives. It's the human brain and it's on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York through August 14, 2011.

Not all of us will be fortunate enough to get to New York to see the exhibit. The reviews have been fantastic and hopefully somebody will have the foresight to put on a roadshow and send it to museums around the country. Hint, hint.

The exhibit uses artistic interpretations as well as interactive exhibits to present a fascinating look into what makes us all tick. If you're in New York, be sure to check it out.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Top 10 Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts

Let's face it, we don't always have time to make a good, healthy breakfast in the morning. And with breakfast being the most important meal of the day, sometimes you need to grab something on the go, whether you're heading to school or a soccer game. asked their experts to compile a Top 10 List of the healthiest breakfasts from fast-food restaurants around the country. Your kids might be moaning about what's on the list but there may be a few things that they won't complain about too much.


Top 10 Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts

1. Spinach Florentine Breakfast Wrap (Cosi)

2. Protein Artisan Snack Plate (Starbucks)

3. Berry Topper Ideal Meal (Jamba Juice)

4. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (Au Bon Pain)

5. Scrambled Egg Whites, Chicken Sausage, and Fruit (Denny's)

6. Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (McDonald's)

7. Simple & Fit Veggie Omelette (IHOP)

8. Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt (Subway)

9. Egg White Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap (Dunkin' Donuts)

10. Breakfast Power Sandwich (Panera Bread)

For more details about how and why each breakfast was ranked, visit the web page here.

BTW, the breakfast image on this page did NOT make the list although it is pretty tasty.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Educational Summer Camps

It's still the middle of Winter and most areas of the country are buried under snow. Spring Break hasn't even started yet but it's not too early to begin thinking about summer vacation...more specifically Educational Summer Camps.

The Great Schools website offers some good ideas for keeping kids in mental shape while off from school in the summer. With so many school districts cutting budgets for the important things like the arts and physical movement, there are plenty of places to make up for the lost resources - and summer is a great time to catch up. You made need to plan early as some programs are limited and fill up quickly.

Kids need a balance all year long and there are plenty of Learning Disability Activities that can be done throughout the school year to keep them in shape both mentally and physically. But during the summer, they lose the daily routine that school provides so it's important to fill that need and keep their brains sharp.

To read the full article about educational summer camps and activities, visit the Great Schools website here.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's Never Too Early to Think About IEP Transition Goals and Objectives

Parents that attend an annual IEP are very familiar with IEP Goals and Objectives as they are written and modified each year. When kids are young, little time is spent thinking about the later years like high school. But as they get older, often overlooked aspects of the IEP Process are IEP Transition Goals and Objectives.



IEP Transition Goals and Objectives don't usually come into play until high school, but sometimes that can be too late.

Students will transition from elementary school to middle school or junior high and this is a great time to "practice" or prepare for the transition from high school to college or adult life.

We recently attended a Transition IEP for the senior year of high school and it was impressive. Maybe we got lucky but the school was very involved in all aspects of the transition, from college placement tests to financial aid to possibilities for work, trade school and college.

It's scary for all parents to know that their child will be leaving home for the first time. We worry throughout their life about everything but when the day comes when they actually leave it's a completely different feeling altogether.

Begin thinking about the transition early and prepare for everything. Pay attention to special interests, passions, and what really turns them on. Many people never find their true passion to follow in life but for kids with learning disabilities it's important to prepare them for every possibility.

Guide them into post-high school but allow them to follow, or discover, something that matters to them. Provide plenty of support and understand that even something that may sound outrageous or unconventional is okay to pursue if they are passionate about it.

Topics like employment, independent living, college, and socialization aren't so frightening if you plan early and begin thinking about them while there is time prepare.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Least Restrictive Environment - LRE

Least Restrictive Environment means that a student has the right to an education appropriate with students who do not have disabilities, and as close to home as possible. 

It is one of the basic tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), which is the federal law that requires school districts to provide students with disabilities a Free 

Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).



Parents shouldn't stress out about the liberal use of Learning Disability Acronyms thrown around in IEP Meetings. They can actually streamline the amount of paperwork required and they get easier to understand over time.


The most important thing to note about Least Restrictive Environment is that it allows children with learning disabilities and an IEP to be placed in a regular classroom setting with kids their own age. They may have some classes outside of the regular classroom in smaller groups, but they can also participate normally as if they didn't have a disability, whenever possible.


Taking kids out of their regular classes is a major concern for many parents. They are afraid their children will be "labeled" as different. IDEA addresses this issue through Least Restrictive Environment.


LRE is good for the student with a learning disability because it keeps things close to the norm. More information is available at: or