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Book Release September! Check out the book site.

Hello all!  The Edventurist Blog isn’t going anywhere, but the site for my new book is up!  I’d love for you to check it out. This is my first stab at non-fiction.

Purple Logo octagon“Purple People Leader: How to Protect Unity, Release Politics, & Lead Everyone: Inspiration, Wisdom, & Tips for Leading Purple” will release in September on Amazon.  You can click the link to learn more about the book.  Thanks for your faithfulness to this blog, and don’t worry my belief in advancing dyslexia, ADHD, and disability awareness is not waning.  More books are coming!   This is just one I had to get out of me!

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The Bill is Signed & We’re On our Way to a More Purple World!

 

chester goad, governor haslam

TN Governor Bill Haslam Signs Dyslexia Bill into Law
Left to Right: Bill Sponsor, Rep. Cameron Sexton, Dr. Chester Goad, Emily Dempster, Dr. Jim Herman, and Senate Bill Sponsor, Senator Becky Duncan Massey.

 Hi Friends,

My apologies! This post is much later than I had expected! I wanted my next post to feature the Governor’s formal signing ceremony of the Dyslexia is Real Law. So I’ve been waiting. That ceremony was held in Nashville last week. The Governor signed the bill formally, at War Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Check out the pic!

Exciting Changes Coming!

When I founded the EdVenturist blog several years ago, I wasn’t sure where it was headed. I’ve always been interested in many things, and I knew I wanted to bring attention to an issue. I asked myself who in the world would read it?

I am proud to say that the Edventurist blog is visited regularly, and since it was established, it has been visited by guests and readers from 146 countries, most visitors came from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia. In addition, this blog has been read by people from as far away as Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and Morocco!

The most frequently read topics on the Edventurist page so far have been: Dyslexia, ADHD, the Brain, and my personal commentaries. The top referral visitors came from Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and the most navigated search engine pointing people in my direction was of course, Google!

I’m thrilled that Dyslexia is finally getting much needed attention, and that legislators, and state officials have begun to realize the benefits of providing teachers and pre-teachers with the tools they need to teach students who learn differently. I hope to continue my involvement with dyslexia, and I especially hope to see successful implementation of this important legislation both within our K-12 systems and higher education.

Now for the big news!

If you follow the Edventurist blog at all, you already know that there’s always been a section on leadership. Personally, I simply could not have founded any blog without at least addressing leadership. It’s that important to me. So, I created a Leadership section. I am a leadership nerd. I read books on leadership. I read leadership blogs. I watch leadership videos…just for fun.

Now that dyslexia is finally gaining traction, and now that our state is emphasizing dyslexia in trainings and so forth, leadership will become one of the primary topics on this site. The timing could not be better as …drum roll…the date for release of my first book gets closer!   That’s right, we are shooting for an August release date for my very own book of inspiration and guiding principles… Purple People Leader. I’ll be providing updates over the course of the summer, and I hope to have a review manuscript in my hands as early as next week! In the meantime check out the website! 

I hope you’ll continue visiting the Edventurist blog, and I promise to continue highlighting any noteworthy dyslexia news, and to keep those resources updated. I’m looking forward to sharing with you some inspiration and insight into purple leadership! Thanks for sticking with me through the years.

Sincerely,

Chester

 

(Dr. Chester Goad is founder of The Edventurist blog, an adult living with ADD, a university administrator, writer, speaker, dyslexia and disability advocate. He is a licensed teacher, and former school principal. He also likes pistachios, and a tall Veranda Blend with half and half from Starbucks.  The opinions on the blog are his own, and he has a lot of them. If you’d like Dr. Goad to come and speak to your group you can email him:  chestergoad@gmail.com. Dr. Goad is the author of the forthcoming book, Purple People Leader an inspirational how to guide to Protect Unity, Release Politics, and Lead Everyone!  His favorite color is purple and always has been.)

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Tennessee’s Dyslexia Bill Passes Unanimously Heads to Governors Desk

Tennessee's Dyslexia Bill Passes Unanimously Heads to Governors Desk

This photo depicts both the House voting panel and the Senate voting panels. The Tennessee Dyslexia is Real bill HB1735/SB2002 is headed to Governor Haslam’s desk for signature.

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“Dyslexia is Real” Bill Speeds to Senate Education Committee THIS Week!

The “Dyslexia is Real” Bill is picking up steam on capitol hill in Nashville! Please share the good news!

Senator Becky Duncan Massey, of the 6th senate district and the bill’s sponsor on the senate side has placed the bill (SB 2002) on notice and it is expected to be presented in the Senate education committee, Wednesday, February 5th at 3:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, HB 1735,  the house bill has also made its way to the House of Representatives Education Committee and has been assigned to the Education Sub-Committee with an expected hearing date of Tuesday, March 4th.  Supporters of the bill continue working with passion and purpose to raise awareness about the bill and gather additional support around the state and especially among the legislature.

The Dyslexia Alliance was formed with passion and purpose as an umbrella group consisting of members of the Tennessee Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, the parent advocacy group, Decoding Dyslexia, and others who have been touched professionally or personally by dyslexia.

senator becky duncan massey meets supporers

SB 2002 sponsor “Senator, Becky Duncan Massey meets with members of the TN Dyslexia Alliance. L-R: Dr. Chester Goad, (one of the bill’s originators and member of TNIDA), and Alliance Members, Eileen Miller, Melissa Tackett, & Dr. Michael Hart of Decoding Dyslexia. (Absent: TNIDA President, Emily Dempster, & Dr. Jim Herman, also originators of the bill.)

Representative Sexton meets with Dyslexia Alliance

Rep. Cameron Sexton, who introduced HB 1735 in the house meets with Dyslexia Alliance members. R-L: Dr. Chester Goad, (one of the bill’s originators and a member of TN-IDA) as well as Dyslexia Alliance members from Decoding Dyslexia. (Absent TN-IDA President Emily Dempster, & Dr. Jim Herman, TN-IDA Board member, also bill originators).

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TENNESSEE MOVES TOWARD NEW DYSLEXIA LAW!

(From Press Release)

“DYSLEXIA IS REAL” BILL INTRODUCED IN TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE

lego troops flank dyslexia

Rally the Troops! Support the TN “Dyslexia is Real” bill: HB 1735 / SB 2002!

January 22, 2014—Nashville, TN.   Supporters of legislation that will help students with dyslexia in Tennessee have something to cheer about.  After years of advocacy and discussion regarding the needs of students with reading disorders, House Bill 1735 was filed by State Representative and House Majority Whip, Cameron Sexton and Senate Bill 2002 by Senator Becky Duncan Massey.   Efforts to pass a bill to benefit students with dyslexia picked up steam after members of the Tennessee branch of the International Dyslexia Association joined forces with members of Decoding Dyslexia-Tennessee, and other interested individuals to form the Dyslexia Legislative Alliance.

Highlights of the bill referred to by supporters as “The Dyslexia is Real” bill include officially defining dyslexia in Tennessee using the definition officially adopted by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), education and training for pre-service teachers enrolled in institutions of higher learning, and incorporating dyslexia-related training into current educational in-service practices.

According to Emily Dempster, President of the Tennessee Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and regional parent advocate, “This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Tennessee to make a difference in the lives of those affected by dyslexia.”  Dempster teamed up with Dr. James Herman, Director of the Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia, and Dr. Chester Goad, former president of the Tennessee Association on Higher Education and Disability, over the last two years to help lay the groundwork for the bill.  Goad believes this is only the beginning.  “All we did was lay the ground work,” he continued, “but getting this bill passed is going to take a mighty partnership with our Dyslexia Alliance partners, parents and others around the state to take it across the finish line. We’re just so thankful to Representative Sexton and Senator Becky Duncan Massey for giving us an opportunity to prove that Tennesseans care about this issue.” Dr. Jim Herman of the Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia at MTSU emphasizes educational importance of the bill. “This bill will assist educators in meeting the needs of all K-12 students and opens the door for targeted, multisensory interventions for students with dyslexia.”

While dyslexia legislation is only now being introduced in Tennessee, the dyslexia movement is a national movement.  Several states have already passed similar legislation including: New Jersey, Mississippi, Arkansas, Ohio, and many more.  In most states, support for the bills receive incredible traction from highly organized groups such as the parent advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia, state branches of the International Dyslexia Association, as well as Learning Ally formerly known as “RFB&D or Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.”   For more information about the “Dyslexia is Real Bill” contact Dempster, Goad, or Herman, TN-IDA, or Decoding Dyslexia.

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DYSLEXIA REVIEW: 13 MEMORABLE DYSLEXIA STORIES OF 2013

Happy New Year from The Edventurist Blog!

Happy New Year from The Edventurist Blog!

2013 was a busy year for dyslexia! Dyslexia in medicine.  Dyslexia in politics.  Dyslexia in literature, arts, entertainment, and more. Below is a list of the Top Dyslexia stories for 2013.  Scroll down to the bottom to see my predictions for next year.  Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014.  Remember: Whatever your issue, don’t procrastinate…advocate!

TECHNOLOGY

1.  Fiber-optic pen tells us what’s happening inside the brain

Researchers at the University of Washington invented a pen that can give the scientific or medical community a glimpse inside the brain to tell us just what’s going on while someone is writing. Read more from Science Daily here!

2.  Test helps with decoding

Researchers at the University of London have created a test they believe will help us understand reading difficulties and the dyslexic mind.  Read more about the decoding research here!

POLITICS

3.  New Jersey passes dyslexia law

More states continue to pass dyslexia-specific laws to ensure that students with reading disorders such as dyslexia are getting what they need, and that educators have access to important multi-sensory language structured methods and curricula. Read about this year’s dyslexia law from New Jersey here!

LITERATURE

4.  Typography Book: What it Feels like to be Dyslexic

In what many describe as part “coffee table book and part textbook”, author and artist Sam Barclay designs a book that lends visual insight into what those with dyslexia might experience while reading. It’s an amazingly interactive and thought-provoking reading experience. Learn more about, I Wonder What it Feels Like to be Dyslexic here:

5.  Malcolm Gladwell discusses dyslexia in his new book

Author, speaker, and thought-leader Malcolm Gladwell offers his perspectives on dyslexia in his latest book release, David and Goliath.  Gladwell offers provides an explanation on his views regarding under-dogs that aren’t really underdogs” on NPR’s Marketplace.  Listen to the interview or read more about it here!

ADVOCACY

6.  International Dyslexia Association responds to false claims about the effects of visual therapies and colored lenses helping with dyslexia

The debate continues regarding visual therapies and dyslexia and this year the International Dyslexia Association released a clear position statement on the topic. Read their position here!

MEDICINE

7.  Brain scans discover dyslexia before students learn to read

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children’s Hospital identified a unique MRI Scanning process that can help in the identification of children with dyslexia before they ever learn to read. Read more about the MIT and BCH brain scans here.

8.  Northwestern University researchers discover the relationship between ability to read and how the brain encodes sounds. Read more about the NU research here.

ART

9.  Artist Highlights Famous People with Dyslexia

In a fascinating and majestic effort to bring awareness to dyslexia, artist Vince Low presented an amazing display of his personal sketches notable people with dyslexia.  Check out the Vince Low’s amazing sketchwork here.

EDITORIAL

10.  Blake Charlton defines his own dyslexia in the New York Times. Read more about the New York Times article here.

ENTERTAINMENT

11. Harvey Hubbell’s long awaited biopic Dislecksia: The Movie.

Hubbell’s movie premiered across the country in mainstream and indie theaters.  The movie presents Hubbell’s perspectives relative to his life experiences growing up with dyslexia. You’ll enjoy this delightful, witty, humorous, and sobering film. Check out the trailer and locations for viewing here.

12. Documentary highlights Robert Redford’s family’s experience with dyslexia.

While light-hearted biopic, Dislecksia: The Movie was making the rounds, another film was also making an impact.  Similar to HBO’s 2011 feature film, ‘Journey into Dyslexia’,  HBO’s newest dyslexia documentary, directed by James Redford features, a more personal look at how dyslexia has affected one famous family, as well as interviews with students with dyslexia, while also offering insight from the Yale’s Dr. Sally Shaywitz and numerous other figures. Check out Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia here.

STUDENT BLOG

13. Honorable Mention:  Texas student Ben Shrader also known as “Commander Ben” made his own dyslexia video called, The Sound of Reading.  In the film, Shrader highlights challenges that face students with dyslexia as well as the positive effect audio books have had on his success as a student.  The video and his “Commander Ben” blog are worth a look here! 

SO WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2014?

In the coming year, more states will pass dyslexia legislation.  Look for Illinois to pass legislation requiring early screening for dyslexia as well as additional professional development requirements for educators.   We can also expect Tennesseans to see legislation introduced this year, as various advocacy groups and individuals in the state have formed an alliance to see landmark legislation passed there.   In addition to more laws passed, expect more technological advances, more medical advances, more movies and more books!

(Dr. Chester Goad is founder of The Edventurist blog, an adult living with ADD, a university administrator, writer, speaker, and disability advocate, who is committed to making life better and more fun for people with attention deficit and dyslexia. He is a licensed teacher, and former school principal. He also likes pistachios and salted caramel mochas from Starbucks. These opinions are his own, and he has a lot of them. If you’d like Dr. Goad to come and speak to your students or to your group you can email him at chestergoad@gmail.com).

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5 Things You May Not Have Known About Bullying & Disabilities

Photo Courtesy Fox4Kc.com

Photo Courtesy Fox4Kc.com

In October, just one week after I presented about disabilities and bullying at the Bully Free Tennessee Conference, state officials released a report highlighting the numbers of confirmed bullying cases in our schools last year.   According to the state’s report, of 7,555 bullying cases submitted for review last year, 5,478 cases were confirmed.  Bear in mind those 5,478 cases were only cases that were actually flagged and reported, which means someone cared enough to follow-up.

Prior national research suggests that as many as 167,000 students are bullied in our schools everyday.  So what does all this mean for our nation as a whole and what do we do?

Well, it means families should talk more, and it means we must be more intentional in our efforts to address the problem without causing more trouble for the kids who are prone to be bullied, and without arming bullies with information that makes them wise enough to  avoid intervention  Yes, it’s that complicated.

Anyone who looks different, acts different, or believes something different from whatever is the cultural norm in the student’s home area is an easy target.

Not only do students with disabilities sometimes look different from non-disabled peers, but students with certain disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia also learn differently, and students who learn differently often receive additional resources or extra help which can bring unwanted attention from potential bullies. Let’s face it, growing up is hard but growing up with a disability can bring a whole set of different challenges.  Social stigma, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness affect the learning environment when educators,parents, and other students aren’t paying attention.

According to The National Bullying Prevention Center, (PACER Center), “60% of students with disabilities reported being bullied regularly, compared with 25% of all students”.  The increasing number of students with disabilities being bullied also recently prompted the US Department of Education to release an August 2013,  “Dear Colleague Letter” to remind schools of their responsibility to provide a bully free education, and to implement specific strategies to effectively prevent or stop bullying of all students, especially those with disabilities.

Five Things You May Not Know about Bullying & Students with Disabilities

1. Intervention by Peers is Powerful

Research shows that the most effective solution to bullying is peer-to-peer intervention.  Teaching students appropriate ways to casually diffuse situations, change the subject, or deflect criticism, and teaching them to know what type of behavior needs to be reported immediately can make all the difference and even save lives. The Pacer Center maintains that students are more likely to witness the bullying that takes place, and that a peer telling another peer to stop is more effective than adult advice.

2. Official Parent Communication Requires Action from Schools

Parents of students with disabilities are often unaware that they can submit a request for intervention and information regarding bullying in writing, and that the schools and the school districts must respond in a timely and systematic manner. Parents should simply write a formal letter with as many details as possible (dates, times, individuals involved, and a description of the alleged egregious behavior) and the schools will follow-up.   Sample Letters for Parents can be found here.

3. Teachers and Parents can include Bullying in IEPs and 504 Plans

Parents and school officials can lawfully include bullying intervention as a part of any IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 plan.  Formally including steps for helping students avoid or deal with bullying behaviors (whether the student is a potential bully or a victim), cannot only assist in creating a safer campus environment, but it also creates a cohesive team of alert individuals more likely to be vigilant regarding the subject. (Ex. The Pacer Center suggests letting certain students leave class or school early to avoid harassment).  Links to more strategies are found below by clicking on The Pacer Center.

4. Students with ADHD are Easy Targets for Bullying and the Risk for Students with ASD is much higher.

Some students by nature of their disability are not only more likely to be bullied but they may also be more likely to exhibit bullying behaviors.  The bullying clearinghouse at StopBullying.Gov explains that students with ADHD are at increased risk for being targeted and may also be at a slightly higher risk to bully.

As a fairly successful adult with a background in special education, who has lived with attention deficit all my life,  I’m careful not to overemphasize those risks but I believe it’s fair to say that some of the unconventional behaviors of some students with attention deficit may bring additional unwanted attention. On the other hand, frustration, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, may lead to other unwanted annoying or aggressive behaviors without the proper education and intervention.

Similar research of students age 8-17 also showed that students with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) are at triple the risk for being bullied.

The importance of educators and parents understanding their children as well as their differences cannot be emphasized enough and children need to be afforded the same awareness opportunities including self-awareness, self-advocacy, and self-determination.  As always, knowledge is power.

5. Bullying and Disabilities = Harassment

Finally, it’s important to note the legal issues surrounding bullying of students with disabilities.  When students with disabilities are bullied or threatened because they are disabled, that bullying then crosses the threshold into harassment according to the US Office of Civil Rights.  Students with IEPs and 504 Plans are protected under civil rights laws including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADAAA (American’s with Disability Amendment Act).

The best way to prevent students from becoming bullying statistics is to know your students and their disabilities, understand the law, encourage peer intervention, and to foster positive relationships between parents and schools.

Resources:

Stopbullying.gov

StopBullying.Gov Tip Sheet and Stats Featuring Twyman et al research

The Pacer Center: National Bullying Institute

The US Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter

Fear Factor: Bullying and Students with Disabilities

Interesting Video: What if Bullying Happened in the Workplace

(Dr. Chester Goad is founder of The Edventurist blog, an adult living with ADD, a university administrator, writer, speaker, and disability advocate, who is committed to making life better and more fun for people with attention deficit and dyslexia. He is a licensed teacher, and former school principal. He also likes pistachios and salted caramel mochas from Starbucks. These opinions are his own, and he has a lot of them.  If you’d like Dr. Goad to come and speak to your students or to your group you can email him at chestergoad@gmail.com).

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