Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review: Head's Up!

If you have a child with special needs, or one that just tends to get a bit distracted when they read, then you've got to check out these readers and frames from Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a company founded by Scott and Melinda Boring. These parents have combined their wealth of professional expertise with their parenting experiences 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, autism, and other special needs."

For the purpose of this review, I'll discuss the sampling of Head's Up's readers and frames I received as part of the TOS Crew.

The Head's Up! readers and frames, which come in several sizes, work by highlighting a specific portion of text (whether it be a sentence or paragraph) to be read. This keeps fidgity little eyes focused, and prevents them from losing their place. (Which is superior to the moving your finger along the page approach!)

The Heads Up Top of the Line and Double Time Readers (2-3/8" by 8" in size) work by highlighting only the top or first two lines of text. Both of these readers are available in either yellow or blue.

The Heads Up Reader highlights only one line at a time (photo on left above) by blocking out the lines before and after. This Reader comes in the following snappy colors: yellow, green, red, blue, orange, pink--my personal favorite, or clear.

In addition, these items can also be used as a handy bookmark. Which is precisely what my children thought they were at first...ahem.

My son, Ethan really enjoyed using these Readers. He often struggles with losing his place while he reads, and then becomes super-frustrated. These babies made oral reading a breeze for him for the first time in...well, ever!

Head's Up Frames are designed to box in a larger chunk of text (or perhaps a chart, graph or math equation) at a time. The Frames are available in 4 x4 1/2 inch squares or 4 x 9 inch rectangles, in the same color choices as above, less clear.

To be honest, I wasn't so sure about the Frames at first. I thought the readers above would be the superior and thus, more logical, choice. However, I've noticed that since using the Frames, Ethan doesn't freak out when he opens a book and sees several ominous paragraphs looming back him! ;o)  The Frames were just what he needed to keep his bibliophobia at bay.

While I did not receive this particular item, I noticed they also offer Full Page Overlays (8 1/2 x 11") in green, blue or yellow. (Visit their website for more information.)

These ingenious products retail for only $1 each. Yes, you read right. Only one dollar. That's so economical, even my wallet sings for joy! This is a fantastic bargain, especially when compared to the high cost of private therapy and tutoring.

I wish I'd heard about Heads Up before now. I've known several children over the years who deeply struggle with sensory overload, as well as those with mild to severe delays. These products would've been perfect for them! (Hmm...I might still have some of their mother's email address...let me check.)

Head's Up! offers an impressive selection of products including CD's, board games,  phonics programs, fidget-busters, and speech tools. They're literally your one-stop special needs shop!

I would definitely recommend Heads Up! to anyone. Their products are durable, colorful, simple to use, and extremely affordable. We award them with two Snoopy-dancing thumbs up! :o)

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