I am both a mother of three, one with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a former teacher who worked with a wide range of elementary students, including those struggling with math. I have spent the past 20 years learning what I consider to be the essential ingredients to teaching the whole child. Initially, through necessity with my own child, I spent many years studying the ins and outs of biomedical interventions and how diet and the environment play a huge contributing role in the dramatic increase of learning disabilities among today's children. Teaching in the inner city, I also saw how eliminating natural movement breaks in exchange for more scripted and longer blocks of teaching affected students' behavior. Over the next several years I would ponder how to teach students through movement, and if indeed that would be a more effective way to teach. I would also learn how to most effectively teach mathematics (K-8) and eventually realized that the reason those strategies work is because it allows children to access and use both sides of their brain while learning math. Our students who struggle often times have limited access to one hemisphere, making either reading or math difficult since these processes require the use of both hemispheres.
I read and research anything I can get my hands on and see what elements I can pull from to apply to my students and my own children. I am always doing something different and trying new things. Everyone is working under a unique situation, so usually not everything from a program can be applied for our own use. However, after studying many books and programs, trends can be found and it starts to be clear what the important elements are. It seems that for everyone, especially teachers, time is our worst enemy, yet that is what our children need the most. In the ideal world, our struggling learners would be engaged in sensory motor and cognitive activities for an hour a day, however in most cases that is not possible, unless the parents are completely on board. It is my desire to help teachers and parents take the situation that they have and maximize their time to help their child reach their fullest potential.
Even though there are some learning programs of which I am partial to, it doesn't mean that others are not effective. Therefore, my mission is to empower parents, teachers, and anyone else who wants to know, to help the children they love reach their potential by doing their own homework. I spent many years scouring and sifting through the internet for information, some great, some not so good. I wanted to create a a single place where parents can come to find out the best interventions that currently exist.
May God bless you and your family,
Lisa Ann de Garcia, MA, MEd, FDN-P
MA Communicative Disorders (Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)