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This company is another I hadn’t heard of but really enjoyed getting to know a bit, because I think their products could be quite helpful. In their own words . . .
Heads Up! is a company designed to provide expert information and products for special needs children. Our items have been selected to accommodate various learning styles and strengths, regardless of curriculum used. These special needs products have been found to be especially helpful for children who are distractible or hyperactive.
Our goal is to provide materials and information for homeschooling families, occupational therapists, speech therapists, teachers, and specialists who work with children who have developmental delays, learning disabilities, or other special needs. Professionals, as well as parents and families interacting with special needs children, need materials and teaching tips that will be effective in promoting successful learning experiences while reducing frustration for children, teachers, and parents.
The folks at Heads Up! were kind enough to send me several products to take a look at:
Heads Up! Frame – 4 x 4 1/2 Our own creation, these frames are made of transparent colored polycarbonate with a printed frame. The large Heads Up! Frames are 4" x 9" rectangles. You can direct attention and focus by placing the frames over workbook pages or other written materials to be examined. The frames block in key material while the color contrast helps maintain attention. These frames are especially useful for marking the place on the page for individuals who tend to look away from the page frequently. When looking back at the page they can easily and quickly find the framed-in area. Available in the following colors: yellow, pink, blue, red, green, and orange.
Heads Up! Frame – 4 x 9 Our own creation, these frames are made of transparent colored polycarbonate with a printed frame. The small frames are 4” x 4-½” squares. These frames are useful for the child who feels overwhelmed when viewing an entire page of material; the teacher can frame in just a section of the page so that it appears more manageable to the child. Available in the following colors: yellow, pink, blue, red, green, and orange.
Heads Up! Reader The Heads Up! Reader has a highlight strip of color between two strips of grey. The highlighted section aids in visual tracking and the color helps maintain attention to printed text. The straight edges can be used to neatly underline key words or phrases. The Reader is thin and flexible, and can be used as a bookmark for added convenience. Choice of yellow, green, red, blue, orange, pink or clear.
Don’t these products look great? Looking at the Heads Up! website and catalog explained a lot about what these products were created to help with. They are well-made, and I honestly don’t know who else even carries things like this so you could find them if you needed them for your child.
That being said . . . I have one child who is currently working through vision and auditory therapy. So I didn’t want to just hand him these reading "helpers" and say, "Here! What do you think?" I asked his therapist about them first. She said that the reality is that yes, reading black words on white paper–high contrast–is the most difficult way to read. That’s why colored reading lenses of various types have become popular with some people; apparently, adding a particular color helps the words on the page stand out better for some people. However, in her opinion, using these types of gadgets is basically a crutch. She feels that the eyes should be trained to focus correctly and sustain that focus through therapy, because the reality is that our reading is generally going to be black words on white paper for the rest of our lives, and we probably flat out aren’t going to carry around colored cellophane through college, or into the office, or whatever.
I know there are differing opinions out there, and obviously each of us needs to find the help that our child needs to reach their full potential. If you have been advised to use products like this and that advice rings true to you, by all means check out this company, because they have lots to offer! You can find their complete listing at www.headsupnow.com . And even if you don’t have a struggling reader on your hands, you will want to peek at the website, because they also offer things like cool pencil grips, brightly colored transparent tape for highlighting, a neat little gizmo you can stick on your desk which holds papers straight up, games, big balls to bounce on, and even things to squish with your fingers (I mean for your child to squish, of course) so they can fidget quietly while you read. Fun stuff!