Unstrange Minds by Dr. Grinker Discussion of the book on why Autism diagnosis has increased over the recent years presented by tutor John Toker

Possible causes for the rise in ASD diagnoses

Research based standards for diagnosing people with ASD became the norm; this increased the rate of diagnosing conversely to the past individuals were wrongly ascribed with other diagnoses. Clinicians are more aware of ASD, and therefore are systematically looking to rule out early indications of it. Prior to extensive research substantiating ASD and the Internet to inform people of ASD, there was a tendency to misattribute symptoms of it. Many doctors would simply call it normal, while others would simply label them as mentally retarded.

Once people with ASD received early intervention in terms of socialization and other forms of education, there was marked improvement in the respective students’ interpersonal skills and cognitive capacity to learn in general; they far exceeded experts expectations. Consequently, there was proof that ASD was often the proper diagnosis for many who had earlier been deemed to have unrelated issues (Grinker, 2008).

Opinion related to the increased prevalence of ASD

Early diagnosis of those with ASD allows them to cognitively develop to a degree that often exceeds mental retardation; some are able to illustrate superiority to the general population. Such finding evoke support by the general public to increase awareness and funding to help people with ASD. Consequently, parents are more likely to be educated about the diagnosis and doctors anticipate that they will be expected to rule out whether ASD is the case; such influence raises the likelihood that it will be the diagnosis in any given pediatric evaluation (Boutot, & Myles 2011).

How the rise in diagnoses will impact teachers and schools

Public school funding increases as more people per capita are diagnosed with ASD, which results in hiring more people for team teaching. People who teach together will need more planning time between them during free periods; they will need to in many cases coordinate who is leading and who is working with individuals. Sometimes, there will be different ways of setting up the structure of classes. For example, a class may be split into half as if they were separate courses and therefore only one teacher per group (Vaughn, & Bos 2007). Political power to vie for better results when teaching those with ASD is greater, and therefore there is more pressure on instructors to succeed in their respective efforts (Grinker, 2008).


Boutot, A., & Myles, B. (2011). Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders. In Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundations, Characteristics, and Effective Strategies (pp. 34-67). Pearson.

Grinker, R. (2008). Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism (pp. 1-172). Basic Books.

Vaughn, S., & Bos, C. (2007). Response to Intervention: Developing Success for All Learners. In Teaching students who are exceptional, diverse, and at risk in the general education classroom (4th ed., p. 350 to 398). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

John Toker has a Master’s Degree in Education with a Concentration in LD K-12, and a Master’s Degree in Psychological Services with a Concentration in Counseling with a Post Master’s in Counseling. John is a tutor for Autism, Asperger’s, Dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, Executive Function Disorder and other learning issues. John taught in FCPS, and MCPS; he is usually a tutor in Northern Virginia, especially Fairfax County including McLean, Vienna, Reston VA and other areas in Fairfax County and sometimes a tutor in MCPS, in particular Potomac MD, Bethesda MD, and Rockville MD within Montgomery County.

Tutor, John Toker, web site to help people with ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia, Autism, Asperger, Executive Function Disorder



Breaking Stereotypes about Learning Issues

Learning issues are too often connected to assumptions about respective abilities; ordinary people assume that those with them have too many obstacles to succeed in life. Albeit, many biographies reflect those with problems in school as part of their history to be highly accomplished in the work world. Business people, scientists artist and of many other professions learned to make their learning problems assets to excelling well beyond their peers. Ironically, many of those who teased people for having learning issues were simply good at memorizing school curriculum; they often had far less ability than those subject to criticism. It is essential that biographies of accomplished people are studied by those with learning challenges and those helping them. My tutoring services help students free themselves from stereotypes.


Stay With Winning Formula for Success

Dear students and parents:

Once students with learning issues start to get better grades, too many try to stop with the added support that helped them make progress. It is best to stay with a winning formula until respective parents and teachers can be fully confident that added assistance is not necessary. People generally need added help until the end of any given year; this is because curriculum by its nature becomes harder throughout a school year. One may risk losing a great tutor because he or she has replaced the person with another student and is booked for the rest of the academic year.


John Toker, M.Ed. LD K-12, M.A.


Hello Parents and Students!

Welcome to Learn Differently Tutor blog!

I am John Toker. My tutor practice is in place so that I may help those with learning issues. Fortunately, my students and their parents all work as a team in order move forward in scholastic goals. Tutoring takes place at their home, Skype, public facilities or at my office. You can learn more about me and my tutoring practice at http://www.learndifferentlytutor.com/

Here is a link to an article that I wrote:

It is about ADHD. Readers learn about how ADHD can be a strength when addressed with the right tutor.

Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD, Executive Function Disorder and Being a Tutor

Students often vary as to what they need to meet school grade level requirements; ADHD, Dyslexia, Executive Function Disorder, Autism are some of the reasons many people do not learn in the same way. My tutoring people over the past many years has shown me that individuals vary greatly even within one diagnosis that relates to thought process. Naturally, it is key to see the person getting tutoring services as for who they are, and not simply as a stereotype.

My students to tutor are mostly from Vienna VA, McLean VA, Arlington VA, other areas of Northern VA, Potomac MD, and Bethesda MD. Albeit, some learners are from New England, while others are from the West coast.

Learn Differently Tutor

Tutoring Bridges Learning Gaps with Scholastic Strengths

Tutoring increases the odds of parents’ children being accepted at universities, and most importantly graduating from the schools. Too often homework, extra credit assignments, minimal math, science and writing requirements in high school leave aspiring college students unprepared for curriculum that is required at the college level. I find that those whom I tutor prefer to learn their assigned subject matter in a more comprehensive way, rather than through wrote memorization; in turn, they tend to form an ability to answer abstract questions that are tightly associated with university level of academic work.
Many of my students are misunderstood as simply ADHD, ADD, Dyslexic, Autistic, Executive Function Disorder, while they can often excel in school by being taught an individualized method or custom to their thinking way of learning curriculum.

John Toker, M.Ed. LD K-12, M.A.


First Quarter Grades Mini Crises, Need a Tutor ADHD, Dyslexia, Executive Function Disorder

Parents may find themselves in a scramble to get their children tutors because first quarter grades call for it. Many times students’ scores in school are not apparent until this time of year.

Some of my students started with me in the later part of the fall season. Naturally, I spend part of my tutorial sessions getting them caught up with their scholastics, while there is a need to focus on the new material as well.

 John Toker, M.Ed. LD K-12, M.A.


My Experiences as a tutor: ADHD, Dyslexia, Executive Function Disorder

My tutoring in McLean VA, Vienna VA, Arlington VA, other parts of Northern VA, Bethesda MD, and Potomac MD has been challenging and rewarding at the same time. Some of my learners have been through FaceTime, Skype and other Internet software. Most of my students had not seen success with other tutors; this was often due to their tutors’ lack of advanced training in the field of education and psychology. After many years of addressing learners specific educational needs, I can see how my masters degrees, one in special education K-12, and the other in psychological services, have been essential in my applying appropriate teaching methods.

John Toker, M.Ed. LD K-12, M.A.


Tutors with proven track records who need specific training to address students with complex learning issues are not easily found in communities; ADHD, Dyslexia, and Executive Function Disorder are some of the challenges that need to be addressed by them.

Test modification for children with special needs such as cerebral palsy by John Toker, tutor

A student of mine has cerebral palsy. I modified his tests, during the school year, to do two of each type of math problem; he passed the SOL without any accommodations for it. Some students without learning issues, scored at the A level during the normal school year, failed the same SOL as my noted student. In certain cases, there are people who can memorize an inordinate amount of information for a few days, while having a substandard understanding of a given set of material.

Pupils with intellectual characteristics that are indicative of intellectual disabilities are as follow:

1. They generally learn at a slower pace as relative to their mainstream peers.

2. Relevant aspects of lessons often go unnoticed by them.

3. Spontaneous illustration of learned skills is usually lacking.

4. Abstract concepts and complex curriculum is often too difficult for them to understand.

5. Generalizations from specific lesson material are frequently absent from their conclusions concerning respective course material (Vaughn, & Bos 2007).

IDEA, IDEIA and other Federal laws protect students with intellectual disabilities in the following ways:

1. IDEA requires that all children receive education; it mandates that special education services start at the age of a toddler are in place. students are to be given psychometric testing in or order to identify their specific gaps in learning.

2. IDEIA requires that general education curriculum is afforded to these pupils (Vaughn, & Bos 2007).

General Education teacher’s four roles when working with those who have who deficits in intellectual processing:

1. Such students need to their teachers to make them feel as if they are part of the class.

2. IEP goals of  learners should be familiar to the instructors.

3. Modifications to general education lessons should be made when feasible in order to meet the needs of those with deficits. Creativity and analysis should be applied to lesson plans when collaborating with special education teachers during planning periods.

4. Mainstream students should be encouraged to provide peer support in general and when completing coursework; general education teachers should collaborate with special education instructors in order to facilitate such dynamics (Vaughn, & Bos 2007).

Five strategies or activities for instructors to facilitate success of students with deficits in their intellect:

1. Prepare students, ahead of time, for what they need to be doing during a given class periods; this includes taking turns when communicating about a subject matter, handing out materials for class and other events. Such students are then much more likely to follow directions by the teacher and thus fit in more among their peers.

2. Safety is essential and needs more reinforcement of steps to keep people safe than the general population; review fire drill procedures, verbally rehearse getting on the correct bus that takes them to their homes, safely crossing streets, and knowing how to call their parents or guardians.

3. Acceptance that learning goals should be varied in order to accommodate different learning needs; for example, a student may need fewer of any given type of question on exams or not as many types of them.

4. Cooperative learning: subgroups are formed for students to work as a team in order to complete assigned goals. Interdependence facilitates positive interactions with those who have special needs, and whom may otherwise be ignored by mainstream peers.

5. Providing hands on, known as experiential instructions includes familiarizing oneself as to what students already know from life experience and helping them apply such life lessons to class work. Manipulatives and other learning tools in the classroom are used to create first hand learning experiences; this often streamlines learning as a process (Vaughn, & Bos 2007).


Vaughn, S., & Bos, C. (2007). Response to Intervention: Developing Success for All Learners. In Teaching students who are exceptional, diverse, and at risk in the general education classroom (4th ed., p. 262 to 263). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

Vaughn, S., & Bos, C. (2007). Response to Intervention: Developing Success for All Learners. In Teaching students who are exceptional, diverse, and at risk in the general education classroom (4th ed., p. 264 to 265). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

Vaughn, S., & Bos, C. (2007). Response to Intervention: Developing Success for All Learners. In Teaching students who are exceptional, diverse, and at risk in the general education classroom (4th ed., p. 266 to 268). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

Vaughn, S., & Bos, C. (2007). Response to Intervention: Developing Success for All Learners. In Teaching students who are exceptional, diverse, and at risk in the general education classroom (4th ed., p. 269 to 271). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.