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Saturday, February 28, 2009

review of Heads Up! frames


Heads Up! frames are just one of many products meant to help "all kinds of special kids". The Heads Up Now company sells organizational helps (like timers and colored notebook paper for coordinating subjects), memory helps, books on helping distractable children, and books on children with sensory integration issues, speech and language therapy aids, and vision aids such as the Heads Up frames I reviewed.
These are little colored plastic overlays that a student can place over words or problems on a page. They help block in pertinent information on a page while the colors help the student to sustain attention. The frames come in many different colors and sizes. I was happy to get to try these as my son, with some vision problems, seems to need something to put under the lines on the paper he is reading or he tends to lose his spot. So we have tried the frames in different shades and shapes, on and off for a few weeks now. I can tell he reads better and more efficiently when he uses a frame (he prefers blue) but getting him to remember to use is the hard part. The smaller sizes would be a great book marker. I may try leaving one in each of his books all the time so he has them handy.
For children who get overwhelmed seeing what looks like a ton of work to them, especially those math fact sheets, you can help them focus on one problem at a time using these frames. With my children, when they think a task is impossible, they tend to give up before they even begin. Blocking out a few problems at a time makes the task less daunting and much more manageable.

I like the way the frames keep the distractable child on task. Reading is one of those things that my son easily loses his place in. Its no fun to read when you look away from the paper continually and then look back, only to realize you're lost. I was a fairly fast reader growing up; I'll never forget how much I dreaded classroom read-aloud time because I knew not everyone read so fast and I'd be sitting and waiting. I have to admit in times past, reading with my son, I have had that same feeling of exasperation again, not because his reading skills have upset me but because I am upset for him. I really like these frames and I think they will help him to become much more focused, and a much more efficient reader.
I really like the looks of quite a few of Heads Up Now's books. I'll probably be back to order from them at some point.

I have given away a few of the extra frames to friends to try. If you tried them with your children, I'd appreciate your commenting and telling me (and other readers) what you thought of the frames. I have other frames that we won't use for give-away also, so if you'd like some for your class or personal use, let me know. Thanks!

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