Friday, October 26, 2012

Online Productivity Monitors Can Help Find Lost Time

Do you ever wonder where your time goes? Two productivity monitors that track your online activities, Slife and Rescue Time, can tell you exactly.

Both function similarly, sitting quietly in the background and keeping track of every site you visit and how much time you spend there. But each can take a more active role if you choose, limiting the time you spend in particular areas such as news, email, and games. (You can categorize sites yourself.) You can generate reports for your own activity and for the time your family members -- including your children -- spend online. These reports can plot the data by hour, day, and week. You can set time goals (i.e. I will spend a minimum of three hours doing online research each day,” or “I will spend no more than 15 minutes answering email,”) or, in cases of extreme addiction, completely block distracting sites from your family members or from yourself.

Each service can be downloaded for a small fee, but if time really is money, the cost may be worth it.

Photo: Gary Cycles / Creative Commons

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Children, Football, and Concussions

As a parent, pediatrician, and lifelong football fan, I was naturally drawn to the article on the first page of yesterday’s New York Times, “A 5-Concussion Pee Wee Game Leads To Penalties for the Adults.” The article was particularly timely as we embark on a major initiative at The Yellin Center to better understand and address how concussions affect academic performance. As I read the Times article, I followed the narrative as the litany of concussions in this single football game in Massachusetts unfolded. As Chris Nowinski, president of the Sports Legacy Institute aptly noted, there were undoubtedly many more concussions than those that were diagnosed. While I do believe that adults need to be held accountable for their decisions when they are responsible for children’s safety, I think we are fooling ourselves if we believe that this alone is an effective way to address this problem.

As a former Chief Medical Officer of a hospital, this football game is what we would call a “sentinel event.” Like the canary in the coal mine, sentinel events often tell us that there are big problems that need to be confronted. In almost every case, individual errors in judgment can be identified. However, when one looks closely through a process called a “root cause analysis” one usually finds that these kinds of errors in judgment are often more widespread and that the sentinel event represents a “perfect storm” of causes. Taking an immediate punitive approach often short-circuits the root cause analysis and discourages people from coming forward in the future to report minor problems before they become major ones.

It’s clear that concussions are not only a problem for the youngest players. A follow-up article in today’s paper about concussions in high school football refers to a study from the Pediatric Brain Trauma Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital that found that 486,000 combined head impacts had been recorded over a five-year period among players from the football teams at Brown, Dartmouth and Virginia Tech, as well as two men’s and two women’s hockey teams.

Was I the only one that was stunned when I read that based on the rules of “safety” the weight limit for 10 year olds in the Pee Wee game was 120 pounds? 120 pounds is more than 20 pounds above the 95th percentile for 10 year olds! Furthermore, as the Times notes, “rules are only as effective as the adults charged with enforcing them. Four of the five injured boys have resumed playing football…”

So, I think that we all have some serious work ahead of us in examining the safety of contact sports for young children. We need to begin with a root cause analysis of the Massachusetts sentinel event. And we have to seriously entertain the question about whether it is ever possible to make these contact sports safe enough for young children.

Photo: woodleywonderworks / Creative Commons (modified)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Games to Build Visual Skills

Visual perception is critical to academic success in many areas. Reading, geography, math, art and art history, foreign language literacy, and the sciences are just some of the subjects that rely heavily on visual discernment. Below, we've described some games that are so much fun, kids will have no idea they’re actually building their visual skills!

On the Dot

When reading aloud, it is common for students to substitute a visually similar word (for example, “from” instead of “form”). This can happen to inattentive readers or to readers with poor sequencing skills. Another possibility is that the student needs to build his/her visual acuity.

Visual perception is clearly an important skill in reading, and it is not necessarily related to the quality of a student’s eyesight. A child with 20/20 vision may still have difficulty perceiving clusters of letters accurately, which suggests that s/he needs to strengthen cognitive skills like visual acuity and spatial reasoning. Luckily, a simple board game can help.

On the Dot is recommended by expert reading instructor Al Moore to help students strengthen both visual acuity and spatial reasoning in a fun way. Play is simple: After looking at a card with a configuration of dots on it, players stack a series of transparent cards, each printed with their own dots, to recreate what they see on the card. The first to accurately copy the pattern on the card is the winner. Single players may time themselves to determine how many patterns they can replicate in five or ten minutes.

Guess Who?

Fluent readers rely on their visual memories to read words, and most of us use the same memory function to check our spelling. To improve this cognitive skill, as well as to give any student, regardless of learning style, a serious higher-order thinking workout, try playing Guess Who?.

This old favorite seems to have fallen by the wayside, but it deserves a resurgence. In this two-player game, each player privately selects one of 20 characters. Then players take turns trying to guess the identity of their partner’s character through a series of yes/no questions designed to eliminate possibilities. Though most people would hardly call this game educational, in fact it is great for developing important cognitive skills used in reading. To play, one must look at a variety of visual stimuli and determine what is similar about them and how they differ, the same way a proficient reader can identify a word at a glance because of its visual characteristics. It also reinforces listening comprehension, particularly at the sentence level, and short-term and active working memory.
Guess Who? provides both the medicine - a hefty dose of cognitive strengthening - and the spoonful of sugar to help it go down.

Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars – not your average board game – is designed specifically for reading instruction. Its price tag is considerable, and your family is unlikely to play this game around the kitchen table on a Saturday night. Still, it is enjoyable for children and has been demonstrated to be effective in helping them improve the cognitive areas critical to reading.

Seeing Stars, a game developed by the famous reading program Lindamood-Bell, encourages children to latch on to the reading process in a non-traditional way. The programs at Lindamood-Bell are heavily visual, guiding children to learn the shapes of words and the letters within them rather than processing words letter by letter. This is an effective approach for children who struggle with phonemic awareness and phonology. Consequently, Seeing Stars is all about mental imagery. In this game, a student is asked to visualize a real or nonsense word, then alter it by transposing, removing, adding, or substituting letters to form new words. For students who must memorize orthographic patterns in order to spell - in other words, students who cannot “sound out” words in order to spell them - this process helps students form a strong, mental image of words that can easily be recalled later during reading and writing tasks.

Seeing Stars may not replace Monopoly as a family favorite, but its value goes far beyond entertainment.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Week to Focus on ADHD

A coalition of national organizations, including CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), have declared this to be ADHD Awareness Week, and we thought that this would be a good time to look at the facts about ADHD to help parents, educators, and students better understand this condition.

The CDC notes that ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorders of childhood, with 9.5 % of children being diagnosed with ADHD at some point. Boys are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than are girls. Some of that difference may stem from the fact that there is more than one kind of ADHD; the National Institutes of Mental Health notes that there are three different types of ADHD:
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
  • Predominantly inattentive
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
A girl who seems to daydream in class may not be as likely to be diagnosed as a boy who can't sit still and is disruptive, but both students may have ADHD and may need treatment and strategies to get the most out of what is going on in their classrooms.

Research is clear that ADHD has a real, brain-based cause and also has a genetic component. It is not caused by parenting styles or food allergies, although environmental toxins may be a factor in its occurrence. Co-morbidities, conditions that are often diagnosed in individuals with ADHD, include anxiety, depression, and learning disabilities. 

While diagnosis of ADHD is generally made by looking at the how many symptoms occur in various settings -- such as both at home and at school -- it is important to take a nuanced look at what is going in an individual before deciding on a diagnosis and before determining the appropriate treatment. For example, a student who is struggling to process what is going on in his classroom because of a language disability may appear to be inattentive, when the difficulty is actually a learning problem, not ADHD. Only by addressing the language processing difficulty will this student be able to attend properly in his classroom. 

What about treatment? This needs to be an individualized decision, especially for children. There are many medications that can be effective in helping with ADHD symptoms, and the National Institutes of Mental Health has a good explanation of what these are. But these medications can have side effects and parents may want to consider behavioral strategies before they decide whether medication is the best choice for their child. It is crucial that parents work with a physician with experience with these medications to make the right decision for their child.

Related articles from The Yellin Center Blog about ADHD

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Planning to Protect Your Children's Future

This week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. It's a good time for all parents, especially parents of children with learning and other challenges, to think about whether they have taken the steps necessary to ensure their children's future -- financial and otherwise.

It helps to understand what happens when parents don't have wills. In the event that both parents die by an untimely accident or illness that leaves behind minor children, a court will award custody of the children based on "the best interests of the child." The preference of the parents for one family member over another, for example, won't be clearly known to the court that makes this decision. In addition, any funds left behind by the parents (savings, investments, life insurance, or proceeds of a "wrongful death" lawsuit) will be placed in a trust by the court, to be administered according to state law and to be released in full to the child when he or she attains majority, usually at age 18. Only children with the most significant disabilities will have their funds placed in a trust that is administered by a court-appointed trustee. A child with significant special needs who may be receiving benefits from a state or federal agency will lose those benefits that are income based, at least so long as the money left behind by the parent lasts.

In contrast, parents who have sat down and thought about their children's future and who have put in place a plan for what will happen after they are no longer around can take important steps to protect their children and make sure they will have access to their legacy in the most effective and helpful ways.

First, parents can name a guardian for their minor children and for children with significant disabilities who will be in need of guardianship as adults. While this instruction from parents is not controlling on the court administering the parent's estate (see the "best interests of the child" standard mentioned above), it can go a long way to influencing the naming of a guardian, particularly when parents set forth their reason for their decision.

Second, parents can create trusts to hold the assets which will be available to help support their children. These trusts can be set up during the parents' lifetime or, more commonly, in their wills. They can specify how assets are to be spent, at what age(s) their children will receive some or all of the principal of the trust, and who will control the trust purse strings and make necessary financial decisions during the term of the trust.

Most children will reach an age -- 21, 25, 30 -- when they have sufficient judgment and maturity to manage the assets in their trust. But other children will be unable to handle their own finances in any way, especially the significant sums that may have been left to them in a trust. This situation can arise when a child has significant physical or cognitive disabilities, emotional difficulties that impair judgment, or is addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling. The situation will be different for each family, but parents will know which children fall into this category. For these children, a trust may need to last through their lifetime. And, for children with special needs who are receiving government benefits, parents need to work with a skilled financial planner or special needs attorney who can help set up a trust, generally called a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust, that will ensure that their child can continue to receive their benefits, while being able to supplement the limited categories of items that such benefits cover by providing funds for such items as housing, travel, and education.

After years of legal practice, your blogger has learned not to be surprised at how many parents of young children don't have wills. Often writing a will is something they plan to do, but just haven't gotten around to yet. Sometimes, they can't agree on who should be named as a guardian of their minor children and put off this contentious decision by avoiding writing a will. Planning for the future by writing a will is something that all parents, particularly parents of children with special needs, need to make a priority.

Photo: Jeremy Koren

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Newsday Webinar on "Selecting the Right College"

Susan Yellin, Esq., the Director of Advocacy and Transition Services at The Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education (and frequent contributor to this blog) has been invited to serve as a panelist for a free webinar on "Selecting the Right College."

The Newsday College PrepTalk webinar will take place on Monday, October 22, at 8:00 PM (Eastern).

Topics that will be discussed include: Student Life, Academic Reputation, Campus Size and Faculty, Special Circumstances, and Students with Disabilities.

The free event is sponsored by Hofstra University.

Register for the event here.


For more information about upcoming Yellin Center events, please visit our Events page.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Marshmallow Task: A New Perspective

Most, if not all of you, have heard about the ‘marshmallow task’ experiments conducted at Stanford University back in the 1960’s. In the experiments, a group of three-to-five-year-olds were given a choice. They could either eat one marshmallow immediately or wait 15 minutes and eat two marshmallows. In that study, the ability to wait for two marshmallows correlated with long-term success. The implications seemed obvious. Children with self-control early in life tend to succeed. I have heard some educators argue that the marshmallow task should be used in the admission process for competitive private schools. Others have suggested that the study demonstrated that people are poor because they lack self-control.

However, a study just published online in the journal Cognition by Celeste Kidd, a doctoral candidate at the University of Rochester provides a new perspective on this classic study. In her study, Kidd points out that the common interpretation of the classic marshmallow study is based on the assumption that waiting is always the best decision. But what if waiting is not the best decision? What if you can’t trust the adult making the promise and you don’t believe that they will actually deliver on their promise? Then, grabbing the marshmallow when you can is actually evidence of rational thought -- not impulsivity!

In the Kidd study, prior to beginning the marshmallow task, the children are provided evidence of the experimenter’s reliability. When children believed that the experimenter was reliable, they waited four times as long as those who thought that she was unreliable. In other words, children’s actions are influenced by their perception of the reliability of others' behaviors. While Kidd’s work does not mean that self-control is not relevant, it does strongly indicate that it is premature to conclude that self-control early in life is the major determinant of long-term success. When children cannot trust the adults in their life, seeking immediate gratification makes sense.

What is the take-home message? Children need the adults in their lives to be trustworthy, caring, and reliable.

Learn more about the Kidd study in the following video by the University of Rochester:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Comparing Text-to-Speech Programs

Audiobooks are a great tool for students and adults with reading difficulties because they allow poor readers to access content aurally instead of through print. Almost every book is available in audiobook format if you know where to look. Unfortunately, more and more reading takes place on screens instead of on pages. Students and professionals must read electronic documents and webpages with as much, or more, frequency than books, and these texts aren't available on CD or mp3. Luckily, there is an alternative: text-to-speech programs can read electronic text to weak readers, thus by-stepping the decoding process that can be so taxing.

To help you compare some of the available text-to-speech programs side-by-side, we've compiled a handy chart. Our chart includes both very high quality, expensive programs, and also more basic, less expensive (or even free!) options. Some may find that a very basic program meets their needs, while others will be impressed by the versatility and wide number of features available in some of the more sophisticated packages.

Click-through the chart image to view in large scale, or download the PDF.

Did we miss a good option? Please share your recommendations (or your experiences with any of the programs mentioned above) in the comments.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Primary Sources for History Research

History enthusiasts and frustrated students trying to fill assignment requirements have both no doubt run into the problem of finding primary sources when doing research. Primary sources, materials which provide first-hand testimony about a topic, can take the form of manuscripts, images, audio recordings of speeches or songs, advertisements, and artifacts, to name a few. Far easier to track down are secondary sources; media which consists of someone else’s interpretation of a primary source. Not only is it fascinating to critique a primary source, but this kind of perusal make it less likely that others’ interpretations will cloud one’s own thoughts and opinions. But where can researchers find this kind of information in the first place? Luckily, the internet age has saved students a trip to locations such as Washington, D.C. for the purpose of sifting through stacks of papers and reels. The websites below allow users to view primary sources in a wide array of formats covering countless topics.

The Library of Congress 

Unfortunately, many of the tantalizing primary resources housed within the Library of Congress are either unavailable online, or else available in a format which makes them difficult to use; for example, most photographs and drawings are displayed only as thumbnails which cannot be enlarged. For this reason, using the search function on the homepage will likely be a less rewarding experience than using the wonderful teachers’ page for access to helpful starting points for research. From here, users can browse collections of fully accessible resources, organized by commonly studied themes (e.g. advertising, civil rights, wars and the home front), topics (e.g. maps and geography, religion and philosophy), or U.S. state or source sets (e.g. the Dust Bowl, baseball, immigration). Types of resources include photographs, original documents, video clips, sheet music, and audio files.

The National Archives

Drawings, artifacts, manuscripts, and more are available through the National Archives’ Online Public Access function. Users can take advantage of the sophisticated Advanced Search options to narrow down their results, and it’s easy to zoom in on most images and documents for close scrutiny. The National Archives features a more productive search engine than the one used by the Library of Congress,although it lacks the insight of the thoughtfully grouped collections available through the library.

Famous Speeches

If it’s American oratory you seek, look no further than the American Rhetoric website. Transcripts of nearly all of the famous and influential speeches that have shaped US history can be found here, and some audio recordings are even available.

Repositories of Primary Sources

A repository of primary sources, hosted by the University of Idaho, lists over 5,000 links through which researchers can access holdings of millions of primary resources in all kinds of formats. It includes repositories throughout the world and therefore contains more information than most American collections, but the foreign links to which it points are often not written in English. This is not true of all foreign links, however; and, of course, English-speaking users may find the resources focusing on the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand to be useful, as well.

Primary Sources on the Web

Primary Sources on the Web lists resources divided into two categories: US History and World History. Users can navigate through topics pertaining to many chapters in world history in English, and there are wonderful collections of images and documents available.

Monday, October 8, 2012

National Metric Week

This week, October 7-12, is National Metric Week, a time to recognize and better understand the system of measurement that is in regular use in every country on earth -- except the United States. Designed to fall each year during the week which contains October 10th -- the tenth day of the tenth month -- this event was created by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 1976, a year after the signing of the Metric Conversion Act signaling a renewed (and not yet successful) effort to bring the regular use of the metric system of weights and measures to U.S. trade and commerce.

The metric system is generally accepted to have been first created by Gabriel Mouton, a vicar in Lyons, France in 1670. Mouton proposed a decimal system of measurement based on the length of one minute of  the arc of a great circle of the Earth (now called a nautical mile, 1852 meters). The metric system has gone through numerous revisions, including work by the French Academy of Sciences beginning in 1790 to create measures of volume as well as larger and smaller units of volume and length by multiplying or dividing by ten. Scientific surveys and international conferences continued to refine the system, the most recent being a simplification adopted in 1960 by  the General Conference on Weights and Measures, an international consortium. 

There have also been -- and continue to be -- political considerations in the use of the metric system. In its early years in France, the system fell into and out of favor during different points in history, until it was finally adopted once and for all in 1840. Here in the U.S., Congress has been reluctant to require its use because of the preference of most American for the inch-pound system. However, as trade has become more global in nature, U.S. companies have needed to adopt the metric system to remain relevant in international commerce. 

There is a detailed account of the history of the metric system on the website of the U.S. Metric Association, which also has puzzles that can help familiarize students with metric measurements. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tools for Writing and Proofreading

Of the different reasons students come to us for help here at The Yellin Center, writing remains one of the most common. Many of our students are able to come up with wonderful ideas but getting them onto paper can be challenging for a variety of reasons, causing great frustration to the students themselves, as well as their parents and teachers. In our work with struggling writers, we've come across several helpful programs to improve the quality of their written work. For those who have difficulty thinking of the right words to use during the drafting process, WriteOnline and wordQ are excellent options. During editing, students who have difficulty seeing errors in their own work might benefit from practicing with Daily Oral Language books. Both resources can be enormously helpful toward helping a student’s ideas sound as good on paper as they did in his/her head.

Helping Writers Find Words

Writers everywhere are familiar with the scenario: They know the perfect word to use in a sentence, they can practically hear it, practically see it, they know it starts with an e, but what is it?? For young students who are new to writing or anyone who faces writing or language challenges, this experience is more than an occasional annoyance. Stopping mid-sentence to check a thesaurus can interrupt the flow of writing and students may  lose track of what they were saying when they are forced to backtrack.

Luckily, there are several assistive technology options available to help writers find just the right word and WriteOnline and wordQ are two of the best. Both provide predictive text so that appropriate, correctly spelled words will be suggested to students as they write sentences. Both programs also read text aloud, making it easier for students to detect awkward or ungrammatical sentences. WordQ users are given the option to take the predictive text feature a step further, however, with the addition of speakQ. This feature recognizes and enters spoken words, making wordQ a great option for poor spellers or those who have difficulty with keyboards.

At first, programs like WriteOnline and wordQ may seem to be band-aids and not actual cures. With time, however, students will be exposed to a great many useful words in the context of their own writing, which should help make word retrieval more automatic and writing a less daunting process.

Building Proofreading Skills

Students are often encouraged to proofread their writing for mistakes, but without specific instruction and practice, this mandate can be an exercise in futility. The Daily Oral Language (D.O.L.) series provides students with opportunities to practice finding and correcting errors in written mechanics to help them be more careful, thoughtful editors of their own writing.

One D.O.L. book is available for each grade from first through twelfth, and there is an exercise for each day of the week. Students read up to a few sentences containing errors, use proofreading marks to identify them, then rewrite the corrected sentences to reinforce the lesson. Educators can support students who have had less practice by telling them how many errors to look for or giving clues about the nature of some of the errors (capitalization, punctuation, etc.). The books are particularly useful as an informal diagnostic tool for tutors or specialists beginning work with new students – asking them to correct a few carefully chosen D.O.L. exercises can reveal a lot about the skills that are intact and those that need to be reinforced.

D.O.L. books are available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers in bulk, but parents and tutors can find single copies on

A note about transfer: Critics of Daily Oral Language have pointed out that the exercises are not sufficient to serve as writing instruction, and they are right. The series is a great supplement to the writing lessons students receive in their language arts classes, but it should be noted that the books are not meant to take the place of instruction. Knowledgeable adults may need to guide students in transferring the skills they build with Daily Oral Language to the editing of their own writing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Girls of Color Star in Three Outstanding Transitional Book Series

The United States is a wonderfully diverse country, populated by people of countless ethnicities and backgrounds. However, many parents say this diversity fades in the transitional books section of bookstores and libraries. Transitional books are intended to bridge the gap between picture books for young children and chapter books for children in the later years of elementary school. Generally appropriate for typically developing readers in second through fourth grade, transitional books have pictures on some pages, short chapters, and simpler language than most chapter books.

A recent article in The Reading Teacher* comments on the paucity of female African American protagonists featured in transitional books, then analyzes and recommends three outstanding series, described below. All books are available in bookstores or through

The Dyamonde Daniel books by Nikki Grimes (grades 2 and up) feature a “third grader with wild-crazy hair and a zippy attitude” (book jacket description). Dyamonde is a smart, funny, warm girl with a big heart. She is relatively new to her school, and her struggles to fit in, chronicled in the first book in the series Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, may resonate with some girls. Dyamonde demonstrates a commitment to education and a sensitivity toward the plights of her friends, values which are illustrated throughout the series.

Nikki and Deja (grades 1 and up), a series by Karen English, follows endearing best friends and neighbors Nikki and Deja as they navigate the treacherous waters of middle-grade friendship and work toward realizing their career aspirations. For example, Nikki dreams of being a reporter and always carries a notebook and pencil with her; in one of the books, she plans to start a community newsletter. Their experiences and relationships with each other, their families, and members of the community ring true and provide good lessons that don’t feel preachy.

The Willimena Rules! series by Valerie Wilson Wesley (grades 2 and up) is about a spunky girl whose adventures are both amusing and touching. For example, in the first book in the series, How to Lose Your Class Pet, the class’s pet guinea pig escapes on Willie’s watch. In another, How to Lose Your Cookie Money, Willie learns that two of her friends have don’t have money for lunch at school and buys them food for a week and a half before running out of funds – funds which she earned selling Girl Scout cookies and must now pay back somehow. Quirky cartoons accompany the stories in these charming, clever books.

*McNair, Jonda C. and Brooks, Wanda M. (2012). “Transitional Chapter Books: Representations of African American Girlhood.” The Reading Teacher, 65(8).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Learn Vocabulary and Fight Hunger with Free Rice

Talk about multi-tasking! Free Rice provides an online platform for taking vocabulary quizzes, and for every correct answer you provide, the World Food Programme will donate 10 grains of rice to hungry people around the world. (It doesn't sound like much, but the game is so addictive your donation will add up in no time.) The World Food Programme is the food aid arm of the United Nations and since the U.N. General Assembly is meeting in New York City this week, this is a timely way to participate in a good deed with global ramifications.

 Players can either log in to connect with other players and track their totals, or just open up the page for a few minutes of charitable, educational quizzing when they have a spare moment. Each question is multiple choice, and wordsmiths can work their way up through 60 levels of vocabulary questions. If your answer is incorrect, text near the top of the page will inform you of the right definition, then give you the same word a few minutes later to determine whether you've learned it. Meanwhile, a wooden bowl to the right of the screen slowly fills with rice as you play and tracks how much you've donated so far.

The site has recently added other quiz categories, including multiplication and basic math, English grammar, geography, chemistry, the arts, and foreign languages like Spanish and French.

With Free Rice you can benefit your brain and needy people across the globe at the same time!