My name is Karen Uschold. I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1995. I was married later that year, and am now the mother of three beautiful children, all of whom have their own special learning needs.
In 2002, my eldest son Matthew was identified as ‘gifted’ by the local school board, which proposed moving him from Kindergarten to Grade 3 to keep him challenged. Uncomfortable with this, I looked for alternatives, and learned about a large home schooling community in my area. After some research, I began home schooling Matthew in September 2002.
This worked very well for my family. My daughter Sarah attended Kindergarten in 2004/05, but was home schooled from Grade 1 onward as well. In Grade 2, Sarah was diagnosed with dyslexia. I was informed that it was very unlikely that Sarah would ever read, given the severity of her dyslexia. I was advised to begin training Sarah on how to use assistive devices, rather than ‘wasting time’ attempting to teach her to read. I began researching dyslexia, firmly believing that this disability could be overcome. I have learned and applied many different therapies with Sarah, some more successful than others. In the end, I modified and combined the best of the therapies into my own teaching. Happily, Sarah can now read fluently.
Shortly after Sarah was diagnosed with dyslexia, my youngest son Anthony was diagnosed with autism. Many of the therapies I was using with Sarah I also applied to Anthony, with extremely positive results. Four years ago it was often painfully apparent that Anthony was autistic. Today, people meeting Anthony for the first time are completely unaware of his challenges. He is fully accepted among his peers as any other ‘normal’ child.
Through my connections in the home schooling community, I began tutoring other children with learning disabilities, such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, general learning disability, and autism. Using a combination of therapies and teaching techniques learned with my own children, and developing my own, I’ve has had very positive results.
I keep on top of the latest research for learning disabilities, having read over 200 high level texts (and counting) on such topics as autism/aspergers, alternative learning, brain function, teaching techniques, learning styles, parenting, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, diet, exercise therapy, sound therapy, sensory processing, giftedness, and others. I have become an invaluable resource to many, many families of children with learning disabilities, and I am constantly sought out for my opinions on all facets of teaching, learning, and parenting.
I am repeatedly told “You should have a blog!” So, I’ve decided to give this a go (with a good deal of help and support from my husband Peter and good friend Manon).
My goal is to answer some of the more common questions I am asked, and to give people an opportunity to ask clarifying questions. Time permitting, I will post two or three times per month, covering a different topic each time.