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The Right To Learn

 

 

 

This website, The Right To Learn, is designed to help educate both teachers and parents to better understand students with learning differences.

 

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful

servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has

forgotten the gift."  - Albert Einstein, who was also dyslexic

 

The Sample Pages Are Available For You To browse! I am continuing to add videos and additional sites to the online encyclopedia this Labor Day Weekend. I had hoped to have it completed on Saturday, But I am moving it back to Tuesday. You have no idea how time consuming it is to check each and every video or resource that I am adding to this site. I want it to function well for you and your child so I will need the additional days to make sure all links work flawlessly for you. Please have patience with me as I work to complete this project. In the end I think you will be very satisfied. Thank you.

  Welcome to The Right To Learn.  Good morning. I have posted the sample pages of our membership. It includes access to videos for math, science, english and other subjects. It will be available in an encyclopedia format. This means if your child is having difficulties on learning fractions, he can go to the video page and select math and scroll to the videos on fractions. This will be an enormous help for those of us who search the Internet for appropriate tools to help our children understand concepts. You also will have access to a resource page that is part of our teacher in-service. This section is similar to our video section as it provides additional resources like animations to learn Anatomy & Physiology to suggestions to make concepts easier for our kids to understand.
Other features of the membership will be access to our e book, access to the full length conference that we presented to the teachers on dyslexia. This access will also extend to your child's teachers. They will be able to read our e book, watch the teachers conference and complete the on-line teacher's in-service on "How to make a multi-sensory classroom. A form letter will be available for you to send from our website to your child's teacher to invite them to participate in each of these opportunities.
I have also posted information for an on line Orton Gillingham training for your child's reading needs. I will also have the information for book and textbooks on tape, recording devices for note taking, and other helpful resources. Purchases for the program will begin on Tuesday September 6th and will be at a one time cost of $24.99. This will include continued access as your child grows without having to renew a yearly membership. I will continue to be adding to this site as new information or technology becomes available and this is all included in your membership. Please feel free to email me with your questions once you have been able to review the sample pages. Thank you.
Michelle Masko

(prior notes) Here we are in August with another school year right around the corner. Within the next week I will be listing the tools that will be available from this site that can be used wherever your child goes to school. My goal is to offer universal products that I have found that has solved some of the problems that my own dyslexic children have struggled with. I also am finishing a math series that each child can access whenever they are not understanding something that was explained at school. My second daughter finished algebra II this year with an A. How we accomplished this is whenever the teacher would explain something that my daughter didn't understand she would wait until she got home and I would re-teach her the concept in a multi-sensory format which she then easily understood. By taping videos of each type of math problem a child can access the videos much like an online encyclopedia. This method has been successful with all five of my children, even with the one who isn't dyslexic. It just offers a holistic way of looking at math not just one way. I will have a sample of the video posted within the week for you to look at. Below is a preview of the tools that I will be explaining and offering in the next few weeks as you get ready for school. 

 

 

               1. A reading program that is affordable for ALL dyslexic children. Reading is a must that needs to be remediated with all dyslexic children. We can work on all the other issues that occur with learning as a dyslexic, but unless we address the reading issue along with the other we will only half help the student. I have researched many programs out there. One great site for reviews is The Florida Center For Reading Research. I also researched as many review sites that were written by parents that actually used a reading product. After much debating I am considering an Orton Gillingham program . I am looking at one that offers monitoring of the students progress. Several like Fast Forword would be great along with an OG program but for now I must start with only one. I am in the process of reviewing actually programs and will let you know what I find.

 

            

            2. Technology for note taking. My older dyslexic children often have an absolute nightmare of notes that are completely useless when it comes time for test studying. I usually have to start from scratch when studying. We have tried to get teachers to give out handouts to replace the notes, but this has been on a hit and miss schedule. I have found a couple of pens that are most promising. I will get into more information after I work out details with the vendors.

 

 

            3.  Multi-sensory videos to show math concepts. I am currently working on a series of short videos that explain a single concept of math. I hope to have a whole library that explains basic math through Geometry in a multi-sensory way. That way for example if a student is having difficulties understanding a certain theorem in geometry, he or she can click on the short video pertaining only to that theorem and watch it taught in a multi-sensory forum.

 

 

            4.  Books on tape. My children can read, but especially the younger ones often take a long time to accomplish the chapters assigned to them. Usually we tag team. They read one chapter and I read the next, so that we can keep up with the class. It is amazing how much oral reading I do, especially with dyslexic twins in the same class. Life is good when they choose the same book! I am looking at a group subscription for downloadable books. I am also researching information on oral textbooks too.

 

          5. Voice recognition software. This would be ideal for typing finally papers. I always have my children write out the rough drafts and then after editing they type the final draft. Right now I am getting information on this that may also be incorporated in the pen for notes.

 

 

 

         These are the items that I am working on now. I am investing a lot of my time and money into servers, software, and other technologies that will make our dyslexic student's lives easier yet is not another burden on parents who already wonder how they can afford tutoring to help their child. I look forward to your comments and suggestions and will keep you updated to my progress.
                                                                                                       Michelle
                                                                                          
mmmasko@therighttolearn.com

 

 

 

 

 

                            Our site, as many of you know, is designed to offer a window into the lives of those who struggle to show their intelligence under a sometimes misguided label of having a disability. Our goal this year is to open more eyes to a new way of thinking about learning differences. It isn’t a natural question to ask or believe that the person next to you might not think like you do, but it is important that you realize that differences exist with such great variances. Many don’t realize that such great differences exist. Our job here at The Right to Learn is to help get others to see what we have learned to see. We did not willingly sit down to learn this information. We were taught a night at a time from children that cried out to us. Many times we were forced to decide were they really lazy like we were told or did we believe that little voice in our head that told us they truly were intelligent. As our own eyes began to open we began to see the problem. It didn’t lie as much with the child as it did with the way that we explained the information to them. Suddenly doors began to open and their potentials began to immerge.

          I consider the reaching of the goals of our site much like running a relay race. I have run a section of the race and I need to hand the baton to you. With your own set of knowledge you will add much to this race. First though you will need to see where you need to run before you can understand what the race is even about. Many of you will take off and run without this information. You will be the ones who run long stretches that you might never have had to go to if you had first learned about the course of this race. It is with this analogy I will lead you. Please take the time to see where this race is going. Read and listen carefully to learn what knowledge you may be missing that will make you a better player in the long run. We need you to understand our children in order to ultimately win this race. Without you we will reach the finish line, but without you our terrain is only made that much rockier.

 

 

 

 

 

         We don’t offer a line by line change list that schools or parents need to make. Instead we offer a better understanding of what is going on in the child’s mind that you are trying to reach. There is no one right answer as each child is an individual. The difference then between success and failure is in having the knowledge of how that child is processing the information that you give him.   

 

 

 

 

Instruction begins when you, the teacher,

learn from the learner;

put yourself in his place so that you may understand . . .

what he learns and the way he understands it.

                       Soren Kierkegaar

 

 

 

        As the parents of four dyslexic children, we have experienced many frustrations while trying to get others to understand how our children learn. We have often tried to explain about the long nights and sometimes completely confusing ways that our children went about doing their homework. In response we have gotten many unbelieving looks by others who thought we must be exaggerating about the time we spent on homework. Those of you that have children that are struggling in school sadly know that hours of doing homework is a reality not an exaggeration. Year after year we tried to paint a picture to each new teacher of what our life was like after the school day ended. In the end we finally decided that maybe through this website and our story we could offer others a better understanding of our children and the thousands like them that struggle in a system not set up for them. By better understanding about our kids we can all try to move more quickly to bridge the gap that exists between traditional learners and those with learning differences

 

 

 

 

        As I worked on this site I often think of those who were left handed in school about thirty to fifty years ago. At that time most schools believed that they needed to correct the problem of left-handedness. They tied hands behind backs, smacked hands with rulers all with the assumption that using the left hand was a disability that each student needed to overcome. Somewhere in time the schools realized that by giving left-handers the tools that they needed, instead of forcing them to be what they were not, they were allowed to accomplish the same goals as the majority of right handed students. Today we are faced with the same problem with a different group
of students. We refuse to learn of the tools needed to allow children with learning differences to learn in ways natural to their abilities. Instead we tell them they have a disability of not being able to accomplish things like the majority. Without their own set of tools we try to force them to learn like the majority of past left-handers with tragic results. Most, like their left-handed counterparts, learn to survive in school doing things with limited results. I wonder how many years will continue to pass before one day we will look back on learning differenced children and realize that all they really needed all along were the right tools to succeed?

 

 

 

"The security provided by a long-held belief system, even when poorly

 founded, is a strong impediment to progress.  General acceptance of a

 practice becomes the proof of its validity, though it lacks all other merit"  

- Dr. B. Lown, invented defibrillator

 

 

 

 

         If a person can not learn from the experiences of others and combine it with their own experiences, important growth is lost. When I finished nursing school I had learned much about being a nurse. The actual years of experience I got on the job were worth more to my becoming a better nurse. I learned of many things that weren't taught to me in nursing school books. I learned it from families that had lived the experiences and had tried strategies that I did not have the opportunity to experience. Could I have told them that that their experiences were not mentioned in my textbooks and were not of value to me? Of course, but I would have short changed myself with information that only those who had lived through the experience could have provided. Later at times I would find myself with a family that would be experiencing the same problems as the family who shared their coping strategies. I often would tell them what the experienced family had told me. Not as medical advice from a book but as hope from a family that had figured out ways to succeed. It is with this wisdom that I ask that you listen to my experiences with working with my dyslexic children and husband for the past twelve years. By listening to what I, as a non-dyslexic, have learned, and combining it with your own experiences and training we will give our learning differenced children the best tools needed to succeed.

 

 

 

        There appears to be an invisible line that those with dyslexia come to. Some seem to cross over the line and learn more about themselves and how they can learn in their own best ways, opening up many doors in their future. Others don't ever seem to get across that line. Instead they are left with the misconception that they are unable to learn as well as those around them can.

 

 

 

           Many adults that I have talked with tell me they weren't smart enough to go to college because they hardly made it through high school. Most of them, like the parents of dyslexic children, are looking for the answers to make it all make sense. We too searched for solutions, but as we found one answer, we were often left with more questions to answer. All the pieces never seemed to all fall into place. Finally in the end we realized that there were many wonderful programs that help dyslexics understand the traditional ways of learning more easily, but without the understanding of HOW our kids think we never would cross that invisible line to reach success. We choose to educate ourselves not just on solutions but also on understanding how a dyslexic student processes information differently from the traditional learner. 

 

 

           We continue today to occasionally run into snags with getting our children to understand some things. What's different today is we can take the problems apart in ways that make sense to their dyslexic minds. It isn't always a special program that we use. It's the knowledge we have learned about their thinking that helps the most. We most certainly give credit where it's due, for programs that we have used that have helped our children, but without the further knowledge of our kids thinking we would have corrected a single aspect of dyslexia not helped to make all aspects of their learning easier. Learning about themselves and how they learn best is what has helped to get across that line to reach success

 

 

 

            In the early days of educating my children I knew that they were struggling, but I did not understand what dyslexia was to even consider that that might be the problem. Through this site I have tried to show you how my children and husband think differently from me as a non-dyslexic. With their help we have identified differences in the way that we process concepts that a child is expected to learn at school. With comparing different learning methods they identify easier ways to help them learn easier.

 

           

 

           Teachers especially will find our story invaluable to help understand what dyslexia means to a student, parent and most importantly you, the teacher, who is left in charge of educating a child that you may have had little information or experience with. I have tried to give as accurate a description as possible of how dyslexia has affected our lives both at home and at school. My children and husband also do an excellent job of explaining how different teaching methods affect them, and which methods seem to help them the most. 

 

 

 

              

 

 

          Those of you in college to become teachers are a special concern to parents with dyslexic children. I hope, through this website, to make it common practice, for every college with a teacher education curriculum, to educate all of its students about dyslexia and not just withhold the information for those who choose the special education field. It should be a sobering fact to you that a school with five hundred children has approximately seventy-five students that are dyslexic. That's three to four complete classrooms. Will you be knowledgeable to teach them with the training you are receiving? 

 

 

 

             

         When I was four years old they tried to test my IQ,

they showed me this picture of three oranges and a pear. 

They asked me which one is different and does not belong,

they taught me different was wrong.  ~Ani Difranco

 

 

 

        What has our experiences accomplished for our family you may ask? All of our children are doing well in school and accomplishing goals that at one time were considered beyond their abilities. The picture below is to show and encourage you to believe that your own child or a struggling child in your class may succeed too with education on your part about how he or she learns best.         

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three of my dyslexic children holding up their GPA's for the T.C. Newspaper

 

 

Our fourth dyslexic child was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior & graduated with Honors from high school in 2007.
She is now attending college.

**  Our second daughter was inducted into the National Honor Society this year as well. Our oldest daughter also got accepted into one of only 8 spots in her PTA program. All of their hard work is paying off. Congratulations Megan & Hannah.

 

 

Web Site Mission Statement:

Through this site I hope that all  teachers will strive to have a basic understanding of dyslexia or other learning differences. Having both teachers and parents working together towards the same goals, a partnership will develop to help a student rather then the animosity between parents of dyslexic children and schools that sometimes exists today. It is hoped that by a teacher better understanding the major impact that dyslexia has on families, in turn a parent will show more respect for their child's teacher knowing that together they understand the hurdles placed in front of that child.

 

 

Site Contents & Brief Explanation:

 

DVD Conference on Learning Differences- This is a taped conference DVD called Understanding Children With Learning Differences that features teachers at a school, myself, my husband, our oldest dyslexic children, and my sister-in-law and her husband explaining the differences in how each of us learn. It asks the question of “do you know how the kids in your classroom learn?” Without knowledge of the types of learners in your classroom you can imply to each student that they must learn as you teach or that that they lack the intelligence of those students who can. An important feature of the DVD is the discussion of common teaching methods and how these affect each student. The emphasis of the DVD is that although some students learn differently we can learn to provide them with the right tools so that they too might achieve. The conference also includes a question and answer period to help clarify any information given during the conference. It is a perfect opportunity for teachers and parents to be able to listen to several dyslexic individuals discuss their frustrations with being made to often learn in un-natural ways. It clearly helps to understand the differences in how each of us process our information. It also identifies the changes that can be made and the consequences to those in your classrooms if these changes aren’t made. 

The DVD conference that we have taped is over one hour long so I have made a short clip of the DVD so that it may be previewed. Please click DVD Preview  to learn more. This is a must see clip if you are having trouble getting your child to understand what is going on in his or her classroom.

 

 

E-Book - This is the story of our family's experiences with trying to educate our children who have learning differences. You see, we have five children, four of whom are dyslexic and my husband is dyslexic as well. We included our story so that others would learn more about our children. We also wanted to let parents read of the struggles we have overcome. We feel it will let them know they aren't the only parents dealing with these issues and allow them to see that there are accomplishments that can be reached. This is especially important to know as there are many parents that are struggling to educate their children with little gains that are visible in the early stages. We also hope that by reading our story parents and educators will begin to see the enormous talents that our children can offer. We hope that educators will also begin to see the need to not regard our children as "unintelligent", but will instead realize the contribution these children will one day make on society with their assistance.  As always this e-book is free to read to parents that have a learning differenced child.  If you want to preview parts to several chapters of our e-book it can be found on the navigation buttons on the left under "Preview". Please email me if you need more information. Thank you.

 

 

    Teacher's Corner & In-service- In the teacher's corner there is more information on what led me to become an advocate for those that are dyslexic. I have also included more about my experiences of trying to find help, for my children, in schools that sometimes had teachers who have had very little training on dyslexia. I talk more about my e-book and what it means to you as a practicing teacher. I have also tried to describe some of the issues that are being brought to the forefront for today's teachers and why parents, such as myself, feel changes in the classroom need to happen. Lastly, I describe the teacher's conference on Understanding Children With Learning Differences and the on-line  in-service on The Multi-sensory Classroom and the effects it can have on the children in your classroom. We also encourage teachers to write to us to let us know where the struggles are at for you as the teacher or to let us know if your school does a good job of understanding those with dyslexia. You may remain   anonymous when you email me if you prefer. To learn more select the Teachers button at the top left.  

 

 

Updates, More Stories, & Comments -This page has all current updates with information that I continue to learn from working with my children. I am constantly learning better ways to address those issues that crop up with a dyslexic student. Here you will also find more stories from others who are dyslexic as well as comments regarding this site from readers like yourself.   

 

Please feel free to email me with any further questions.  I try to answer all emails that I receive.

 

 

free link to home study courses guide


 


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