Each time I put on my parent advocate hat I have two goals: to help my children get the help they need and to raise awareness about LD in the broader community.
In my first post I shared about how parents can use Facebook and Twitter to boost their advocacy efforts. Another online advocacy tool I use is Pinterest, a newer social media platform where you can curate and share your favorite LD resources.
It’s PinterestingPinterest is a fun way to not only find information about LD, but to organize and share your personal scrapbook of LD resources.
If you haven’t been on Pinterest yet, here’s a bird’s-eye view. Pinterest is a virtual “pinboard.” Think of it as a compilation of favorite magazine clippings, a photo album, and your kitchen bulletin board rolled into one digital space.
Get on Board Pinterest is easy to learn and use. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be pinning away in no time:
Create an account: You can sign up using either your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or your email.
Brush up on pinning etiquette: Pinterest prides itself on being a respectful, authentic space. Learn more about the etiquette.
Install the “Pin It” button: This will make it a snap to pin finds while surfing the internet. Learn more on the “Goodies” page.
Ready, Set, Pin Many Pinterest parents combine their personal interests (décor, gardening) with interests related to their kids (school, crafts). Create boards about all the things you love — pretty soon you’ll have a virtual collage of who you are and what’s important to you.
For parents of children with learning disabilities and difficulties, this will likely include information about how your kids learn and play differently. Pinterest is a great vehicle for raising awareness about LD and communicating with other parents.
Create a pinboard for “Learning Difficulties,” “Parent Advocacy,” or boards for specific topics like “Dyslexia Remediation,” “Handwriting Help,” or “504 Facts.” Pinterest offers tons of info for parents and educators, from helping you understand the IEP and 504 processes, to new ideas for your child’s tutors. Pin these resources to create a collection for yourself, to share with others, or both.
Where can you find these resources? Here are three places to start:
Search and “Re-Pin” by Topic
Search for keywords on a topic — like IEP goals, dyslexia or special education — in the search box at the top left. Once you find a pin you like, click on it to access additional information, including who originally pinned it, the source of the content, and often a link taking you to the actual information, such as a blog post or a book listing on Amazon.
If you like what you see, you can re-pin it directly onto your own board by clicking “re-pin” and choosing which of your boards you want to pin it to. And if you like what a particular person is pinning, follow that person or choose to follow just their specific LD-related boards.
Follow Organizations Pinning About LD
Many organizations that provide info and advocate for children and adults with LD have Pinterest pages. Or, if they don’t have a page, there are likely lots of pins pointing directly back to these organizations’ resources. Here are a few of my favs:
NCLD:NCLD’s Pinterest page features videos, e-books, apps, and personal stories. My favorite NCLD pinboard is “Hidden Thoughts of LD,” which “showcase[es] the artwork that tells what life is like for those with learning disabilities.”
NCLD's “Hidden Thoughts of LD” Board
Child Mind Institute: This excellent organization works to remove stigma from learning disabilities and children’s mental health. They offer tons of info on Pinterest.
Imagination Soup: This innovative resource on education and learning provides tips on their “Learning Differences” board include items like “worry cards” to reduce anxiety and info on how to talk to other parents about your child’s learning difference. Plus, Imagination Soup blogger and mom Melissa Taylor recently wrote a book titled Pinterest Savvy with tons of tips on how to increase your Pinterest prowess.
Pass It On
Let folks know what you’re discovering about LD on Pinterest. Invite your friends and family to view your boards and add a Pinterest icon to your email signature and/or personal blog. Share your pins on Facebook to point friends and family to LD resources they might find helpful, too.
And please, comment below to share your favorite Pinterest pages and peeps and how using Pinterest has helped you discover great LD resources!
Lyn Pollard is a freelance writer, parent advocate, and the mother of two kids who learn and play differently. A former journalist and change management consultant, Lyn writes, talks and tweets about advocacy, literacy and safe schools for kids with learning disabilities and special needs. Check out her piece in the New York Times.