Trying to have the teens absorb all the information or a good portion of the information can be hard for a special needs teen. I have found some things that might help with processing the large amounts of information they are exposed to from a lecture or a long documentary/video.
My teens both use mind-mapping. Have you ever heard of it? It is a kind of diagram you create where your able to write down the main topic and all the other pieces of information that surrounds that particular main topic. From there, you might have sub-topics that are added from the main topics and you can add even more information that is more specific as they learn. I like to think of it as a visual outline of ideas and information.
Here are some examples and information on mind mapping~ ( and How to Make a Mindmap) It is taking my youngest teen a bit to get used to this form of organization. He was having a really hard time figuring out how best to add them to his Mind Map ( see photo). What is best for him, is to use online mapping tools so that the computer can organize the information more clearly in a written way and all he has to do is move things around to his liking and preference. When I showed him some online mapping tools he loved them, as you can imagine from seeing his first attempt at mind mapping about a video he was watching on the American Industrial period.
As he wrote his first one out I showed him how to do it, but he was convinced and even liked the idea of all those boxes and bubbles and said he wanted to try it his way. Well, a quarter of the way into his work he quickly could see it was going to be very hard to actually try and decipher all of this information into paragraphs without getting overwhelmed and frustrated. The answer? The online mind mapping tool!
Here are a few for you to check out; WiseMapping, Bubbl.us, MindMup there are many more and some take a bit of learning how to use. But my teen seems to like WiseMapping the best so far.
They do have a tutorial on their site so that helped but some of my "child" topics I noticed was overlapping the "sibling" topics so I went looking over at the other mind mapping tool called Bubbl.us. Here is a video tutorial of how bubbl.us works. We may actually find this one better once we get to using it. In reading more I quickly learned that this site also isn't free, after you create so many "sheets" your told you hit your maximum of sheets and then are charged 3.00 per month.
Check out this mind map created for learning English Grammar.
Here is a book that you can get from Amazon on Mind Maps.
For younger learners, here is a beginners online mapping tool from Read, Write and Think.
So far the easiest one I have seen to use is called Popplet. You can find it here. The only problem with Popplet is your only allowed 5 Popplets then they charge you. So that is not really helpful.
In doing more research I finally remembered one that was shared with me way back a year or two ago. It is called Exploratree. They claim this site is free and provides templates for "thinking organizers" or you can create/customize your own thinking organizer ( just another name for a mind map or mind organizer). I am going to be looking into this site as well to see how this might help us. They have a tutorial you can view to learn more about these. While this one is great I believe its best used for the templates and the learners can fill them in. The program is a bit lengthy to go in and add things and move around.
Here is a mind map App you can get and add to your google chrome. Its called Connected Mind. You might like to try this one out as well~
Try out using mind maps for organizing information, you might find your learner really likes it. And this kind of tool is great for those teens with dysgraphia or are dyslexic and have trouble with writing long hand-written pieces~
If you try these, feel free to share what your thoughts are or if you find any you and your learner really like! ~