Since I keep recommending this and sell it at conferences, I want you to know you can also get the Time Timer online.  (Purchasing through these links supports this website with a small portion of your payment. Thank you.)

If you don’t have time to read Nicholas Carr’s book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, here is the article that led to the book, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” in The Atlantic magazine.

Joan L. Green, author of The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education: Resources for Education, Intervention, and Rehabilitation, wrote a useful article on the need for care in choosing appropriate assistive technology, in her new article, “The World of Apps- They keep on coming!” Among other things, she illustrates the complexities of choosing appropriate technology, which is a task helps families with. She also points out that while insurance companies were first reluctant to approve covering the cost of an iPad, some are now too ready to approve an iPad, when the patient would be better served by a more robust device.

Eli Frank Sapp has written a Kindle book that provides a good, short introduction to assistive technology, Learning Disabilities and Assistive Technology.

When folks ask about iPad and iPhone apps, it’s hard to pick a few to show because they do so many different things. If I show you two, the four I don’t show may be the ones that look worthwhile to you or interest your child. Nevertheless, here is one favorite, iWriteWords. There is a free version, with only 3 letters, here: iWriteWords Lite.

For those who cannot speak, check out Proloquo2go.

See also the links listed below under “Cool Software and Technology Tools.”

Other Links You May Find Helpful

Using the Internet Wisely: Why do we crave distraction?

Many tools can help you guard your family from the ugly, immoral side of the Internet or to limit their time on the web. But even if all you read on the Internet is recipes and Bible stories, using the Internet affects how you think and spend your time. These articles help you use the Internet wisely:

Math Links

    • My favorite website for help teaching math is Chris Woodin’s. He is one of the nation’s experts on teaching math to children with challenges. A teacher at the Landmark School, his website is full of useful ideas.



Cool Software and Technology Tools

    • My local Virginia support group, GiftsNVA, had the privilege of hearing Joan Green recently. Joan helps parents find software and other tech tools to help their special children. Joan’s newest book is just out, The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education. This gold mine of resources includes technology to improve verbal expression, to improve auditory comprehension, and all kinds of adaptive technology. I hope to review it soon, but meanwhile, check out the table of contents here.


    • Joan’s website has a great newsletter and first rate resource page. When you visit her, be sure to click on “Read more.”


    • Touchscreens like the iPad are changing lives. My friend,

Stephanie Buckwalter

    •  says that six weeks after their purchase of an iPad, her six year old non-verbal daughter is showing great progress in cognition and in fine motor skills. This mom also reported, “We didn’t know she had a sense of humor” until she used an iPad communication tool to make a joke.
    • So, let’s look at apps. (Apps are programs for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and other touchscreen tablet computers.)
    • 3dLiteracy makes a good program to help build phonemic awareness. Look at the video demo: this looks like a good way to reinforce any Multisensory Structured Language reading method. (MSL is another name for an Orton-Gillingham approach.) Homeschooling mother Amber Basener, who has trained extensively in teaching reading to teach her children, says:
      I think it makes working with tiles a whole lot easier! By the time you get higher in reading development, there are so many tiles it takes a long time to set them all up and it is hard to find what you are looking for. It is not a curriculum or a game, but a very helpful teaching tool. The teacher is definitely still going to need to know how to construct an O-G [Orton-Gillingham] lesson.
      My first thought was that it wouldn’t be enough tactile stimulation. One of the basics of O-G is to use Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and Tactile all at the same time. But, I think they address this problem well on their question and answer section. For some kids it simply will not be enough, and the teacher will have to break out the sand paper letters and tiles, but if the student is older or not as effected by dyslexia I think it would be fine.
      I also really like the sound maps. It is a nice way to organize your thoughts about the spelling of sounds. Overall, I think it would be very helpful.


    • Moms with Apps “is a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families. Most of our membership is comprised of parents who have launched their own apps on the App Store.” Check it out.


  • Lillie’s Pad is another good resource for “everything related to the special needs community and the iPad.” Blogger Kevin Sitek says:I am the father of a beautiful daughter named Lillie who has severe cerebral palsy and CVI. The iPad has been a godsend for Lil that has empowered her in so many ways that were unavailable to her before.
    The mission of this site is to be an up-to-date resource for everything special needs related to the iPad and the iPhone. Whether it be apps, app giveaways, videos, music, news stories, accessories, links, helpful hints, etc.

Mean (Not-so) Grown-Ups and Other Awkward Situations

When I interviewed 64 parents for my book, Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner, several women told me about not being able to take a child with autism to church, because he or she could not tolerate either the worship service or Sunday School. When Carol Barnier blogged last fall about dealing with adults who are mean to a child with special needs, one of her solutions also works for those church situations, which can be awkward even when no one is the least bit mean. Of her many practical suggestions, my favorite is her story of “Cory’s Crew.” Start reading here, and you’ll find Cory’s story under “Get a Big Brother/Big Sister.”

Being Gifted is a Special Need

Even if you don’t think of your child as gifted, gifted education resources can help you unlock your child’s passions, and revive a discouraged learner. It can be hard to tell if a child with special needs is gifted; in fact some learning disabilities are masked by giftedness. So everyone should check out these resources. Gifted children do not need simply more challenging work; we need to understand how they think and feel to help them thrive.

Last month on Neil Haley’s Total Tutor radio webcast, I had the privilege of being on the panel with a wonderful group, including Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. GHF offers articles, a newsletter, and message boards to encourage and support you as your teach your extraordinary child.

Last year at a conference for gifted underachievers, I met Carolyn K, a.k.a. Hoagie of Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page. which is another good resource–no forums or newsletter, and not specifically for homeschooling–but lots of helpful articles.

My friend Shulamit Widawsky has several helpful articles about giftedness on her website.

Finally, as I’ve reported before, SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) is another helpful site. It’s not for homeschoolers specifically, but it provides webinars, a newsletter, and many articles.

For vision-impaired students

A veteran teacher of children with vision impairments, Ms. Kathy (not me!) provides links, articles, ideas, a message board, and videos on Ms. Kathy’s Kids.

Finding the right book for your child to read

It can be hard to get a struggling learner to read, especially if he or she is contending with a learning disability, attention deficit disorder, or other learning problem.
Scholastic offers a book wizard tool online. You can enter a title or a subject to find a particular book. If you child liked one book, you can enter that title and search for similar books. (For example, searching for titles similar to Charlotte’s Web led me to Pippi Longstocking and Trumpet of the Swan, among others.) There’s even an option for something similar but easier to read, or more challenging.

The best stress reducer

Why exercise? “Because it feels so good when you stop,” my father says. A recent article in the New York Times explains, why exercise makes you less anxious.

Three inside views on learning disabilities: from two severely autistic young women, and an adult with Asperger Syndrome

For inspiration and insight into how bright people, trapped by autism, can be given a voice through technology, see these links.

Thanks to Dr. Jeff Deutsch of A SPLINT – ASPies Linking with NTs (Neuro-Typicals) for the preceding link. He is not only an accomplished speaker and coach, he has Asperger Syndrome himself, so he is a good spokesman for these exceptional minds. To get his newsletter, follow these instructions to join his yahoo list.

News and Commentary on Disability Issues

Patricia Bauer is a reporter, a good writer, and mother of Margaret, a young woman with Down Syndrome. Patricia first came to my attention with her 2005 Washington Post article on the abortion of children with disabilities, “The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have.” My favorite lines are:

Margaret does not view her life as unremitting human suffering (although she is annoyed that I haven’t bought her an iPod). She’s consumed with more important things, like the performance of the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs and the dance she’s going to this weekend. Oh sure, she wishes she could learn faster and had better math skills. So do I. But it doesn’t ruin our day, much less our lives. It’s the negative social attitudes that cause us to suffer. 

Patricia Bauer’s website is here.

Reading gives you “a lot of bang for your book”

The complete article from on the value of having books in your home is here.

Boston College Professor Collected Stories on Homeschooling Kids with ADHD

In August, Peter Gray, leading textbook author, Boston College research professor, and Psychology Today blogger, asked parents for stories about their experiences homeschooling children with ADHD. His results are here.

Related to Autism

Many groups advocate different views of and responses to autism. Here is a sampling of sites related to autism:
Autism Speaks
Autism Society of America
Defeat Autism Now, the website of the Autism Research Institute.

My favorite public service announcement on autism is Act Early’s poignant “The Red Flags of Autism.”

To prove autistics have a sense of humor, here is a parody website by an autistic author who describes being non-autistic (“neurologically typical”) as if it were a disease, “a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity.”

In her book, Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind, Cathy Steere describes her work with neurodevelopmentalist Cindy Ringoen, a member of ICAN, the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists. You can learn more about their home programs here.

If your child has benefited from other neurodevelopmental treatments, and you know other useful neurdevelopmental websites, please send them to me. It seems to be the word “neurodevelopment” is used to mean many different things. It’s becoming nearly as common as “brain-based learning” (as opposed to “elbow-based learning,” I suppose.)

John Elder Robison, self-scribed free-range Aspergian, and author of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s has a website and a blog on the Psychology Today website.

Proposed National Education Standards: How Would They Affect You?

In the U.S., schools began as communities banded together. They are still supervised by local school boards. More recently, states adopted standards of learning, and now there is a movement toward national standards. In June 2010 the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School officers released the final version of the Common Core State Standards for grades K-12. States can decide whether to adopt them. But in the competition among states for “Race to the Top” federal grants, the U.S. Department of Education announced, even before the standards were released, that they were giving extra points to states that adopt these as their own standards.

How will this affect special education? See the Learning Disabillities Association’s response here.
More importantly, how about homeschoolers?
To see Home School Legal Defense Association’s response, click here.

Free Online Magazines & Journals

Become a fan of Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner on Facebook.

    •  There I post links and tips from time to time, different from those posted here.

Follow kathykuhl on Twitter

    •  You can also follow me on Twitter, for more links related to teaching and raising children.
    • The last few Februarys, I have attended and spoken at the Learning Disabilities Association’s National Conference. I learn from many excellent speakers on a wide range of topics, such as William Van Cleave below.

You can get recordings of the workshops here.
William Van Cleave

    •  is an exceptionally good teacher. A teacher trainer and educational consultant, he spoke on teaching writing.

Click here for his excellent handout, which covers many stages of writing: from forming letters to revising essays.

    • One example of what I liked are his exercises on varying sentence structure. Once our students can construct a clear sentence, we often move on to paragraph writing. But if our children don’t know how to vary their sentence structure, they may write boring paragraphs like this:

I like trees. Trees are tall and green. They lose their leaves in the fall. We rake them in piles. [Subject-verb-adjective. Subject-verb-object. Subject-verb-object….]

    • If your child writes like this, then have a look at the section on ways to vary sentences.

But don’t neglect the other 41 pages of this excellent resource.

    • Van Cleave is a student of Diana Hanbury King, whose

Writing Skills books

    •  are among the resources I recommend in

Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner

    • . Here’s hoping he publishes this material as a book soon.


Need help managing your time on the computer?


More from the LDA Conference: Lesson plans and Worksheets


    • I like to write my own lesson plans, but some days we want help.


I receive no benefit from your clicking these links. You may find them useful. Please let me know.

  • Peacemaker Ministries offers help in conflict resolution from a biblical perspective. I’ve found Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker, and Corlette Sande’s Young Peacemaker workbooks both very practical and thought-provoking.


  • Eide Neurolearning Clinic will tell you more about Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide and their practice in Edmonds, Washington. People travel across the country to get their advice. Friends here in Virginia say it was worth the trip.
  • Homeschooling mother Tammy Glaser blogs about homeschooling her eighteen-year-old daughter with autism and syntactic aphasia. I had the privilege of interviewing Tammy for my book, and she is a great help.I especially enjoy her book reviews, tips, and video clips.
  • Memory and the Brain, a free, downloadable lecture from The Teaching Company by Professor Jeanette Norden of Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine. Most of it was over my head, but it was still interesting.
  • Free worksheets from Worksheet Library for those days when you need one. I’m not a huge fan of worksheets (we get bored easily here at the Kuhl Academy), but some kids love them, and some days they can be very handy. Graphic organizers, holiday worksheets, and more for grades K-8 in all subjects.



  • A New York Times article on the controversy over removing the Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis from the psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, lumping it together with PDD/NOS (pervasive developmental dissorder not otherwise specified).


  • The Struggling Reader is a small business that provides testing materials to help you understand your child’s reading difficulties, and related teaching materials.