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5 Great Apps for Students With Special Needs

It’s a digital world, and mobile devices have become almost universal for people of all ages. Many kids have them too although most of the conversation revolves around the countless apps related to social media and gaming. The truth is, however, that the compact power of mobile computing has led to the creation to apps in fields as diverse as science, medicine, the arts and more. Perhaps best of all are the apps created to help kids with special needs. Here are five!

1. Nonverbal or Verbally-Impaired: CoughDrop AAC (iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows, Web)

For some children, verbal communication can be extremely difficult. In response, experts developed special software for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). These apps allow kids to communicate by touching the screen. In effect, the app gives words to those who can’t speak. AAC technology has proven to be especially useful for children with autism -- indeed, intensive use of AAC apps has been known to dramatically improve the speech abilities of autistic kids.

2. Socialization and Scheduling: ChoiceWorks (iOS)

Many children with special needs have a hard time sitting still and expressing their feelings. ChoiceWorks provide visual cues to help them do both of these things. It’s also a scheduling app, designed to keep your kid’s day organized and structured so they can stick to their all-important routine.

3. ADHD: Unstuck (web app, free downloadable app)

Kids with ADHD tend to have a variety of struggles, but one of the most frustrating is getting mentally “stuck.” A student might be working on an assignment, but just get overwhelmed with information, pressure, and the countless decisions required. Unstuck is a great app for tackling that feeling. It uses cognitive behavioral therapy principles to help steer the user away from unhealthy thinking, all the while helping put words to feelings.

4. ADHD: SimpleMind (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)

Mind Mapping is a very big deal these days, especially in the creative fields. These apps use a graphical interface to visualize thoughts and ideas, and have been used for developing software, writing screenplays and just plain getting organized. Mind Mapping has also shown great promise in helping people with ADHD bring order to their thoughts and feelings and just generally get stuff done.

5. Dyslexia: Ghotit Writer (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac)

Reading and writing can be difficult for anyone, but when dyslexia is part of the equation, it can be a painful struggle. That’s where Ghotit comes in. It helps you read with sophisticated text-to-speech technology, and helps you write by employing a very advanced contextualized spelling and grammar check that predicts the word you’re looking for and catches contextual mistakes that standard spell check software easily misses. Ghotit is an expensive app, unfortunately, but it has received very high marks from parents and educators.


 

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Towards a Better Understanding: PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can be a serious condition, and while we tend to associate it with people who have had dramatic brushes with death (such as combat soldiers), it can affect people from all walks of life, including children and adolescents. While exceptionalities such as ADHD and dyslexia are perhaps more commonly associated with young folk, PTSD can also have a profound impact on learning and achievement. Let us, therefore, take a closer look at this malady.

What is PTSD?

Boiled down to a simple description, PTSD is a mental health disorder that results from a person having an experience that brings them close to death or makes them feel extreme fear. Survivors of natural disasters and terrifying phenomena like car crashes and child abuse are known to experience PTSD as a result. In essence, the brain gets locked into a kind of “survival mode,” as though the traumatic event could happen again at any moment. PTSD afflicts the survivor with flashbacks as well as powerful feelings of anxiety, sadness and/or anger.

Imagine surviving a nightmare such as a plane crash. Now imagine you’re stuck in that moment for years. That is PTSD.

 

What are the effects of PTSD on young people?

Young folks with PTSD often struggle with school. They can find it very hard to regulate their emotions, sometimes acting out inappropriately and getting in trouble. What’s more, they frequently resort to alcohol or drugs to numb their pain, which in turn can lead to bad choices -- and more trauma.

The worst thing about PTSD is that it usually ends up causing the very worst thing for someone with PTSD: alienation.

How is PTSD treated?

In many cases, the symptoms of PTSD will eventually fade away as the young person begins to feel safe again. In other cases, a variety of treatments are available that have been shown to be very effective. In younger kids, play therapy has shown excellent results, with a combination of play and craft helping the child process their feelings.

In older kids, therapies include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which is designed to modify one’s responses to stimuli -- in this case to train the young person to avert that “survival mode” in favor of something more peaceful. Psychological first aid (PFA) is usually introduced as soon as possible after the traumatic event and is designed to soothe the young person and make them feel safe. Other, more specialized treatments are sometimes employed when necessary (for instance in the case of abuse victims).

The important thing is to seek help as soon as possible, because while left untreated PTSD may go away on its own, it could also result in tragedy.

What’s the most important thing to know about PTSD?

Whether combat veteran or traumatized teen, PTSD is made much worse with social isolation. In our society it is often very difficult to form deep connections with other people, but that is the most important way to help someone overcome their PTSD. That feeling of being understood, of empathy and togetherness, is the very best way to restore a feeling of safety to a survivor of trauma. While high school difficulties such as bullying or gossip might threaten to push someone with PTSD over the edge, things like a tight social circle, unquestioned friendship and unconditional familial love can bring healing.

Unusual High School Sports Around the World

Basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, oh my! We’re used to high school sports having a certain uniformity. That, however, is simply the result of our own cultural experience. While certain sports like soccer and basketball are practically universal worldwide, American football is rarely played outside the United States. Similarly, many sports that are routinely practiced in schools around the world are unique to their cultures. Let’s take a look at some of them!

 

Judo (Japan)

The sport of judo was created in Japan, but that doesn’t mean it’s ancient. In fact, judo was created in the late 1800s and only became popularized in the 20th Century. Japanese high schoolers compete in this sport in a very big way, though it’s worth noting that judo has also developed a worldwide following as well.

 

Kung-fu (China)

If you find yourself traveling across China, your wanderings may take you past the occasional high school. And if this should happen, you may be treated to a view that is, in fact, entirely normal for China: large numbers of students practicing kung-fu outdoors on school grounds. Alone or in groups, punching, kicking, blocking, even using swords, halberds or other weapons. Despite the skill required to practice kung-fu correctly, it’s not that big a deal in the nation of its birth. Just another part of school life.

 

Chinlone (Myanmar)

Here’s one that’s very gentle, even graceful. Chinlone combines team-based ball sports with dance. There is no score, and there are no points. The team passes the ball among themselves, resembling the keep-me-up performed by soccer players. However the kicking is combined with dance, so the whole thing takes on a fascinating, graceful performance as the players try to keep the ball -- which is traditionally woven from rattan -- from hitting the ground.

Australian Rules Football (Australia)

This is a game that may actually cause pain just to watch. Dating back to the mid-1800s, “Footy” (as it’s it’s often called) looks at first blush like an intense game of rugby. However Australian Rules Football does not allow passing, and is a full-contact sport that allows contacts -- without padding -- that can be very intense indeed. However its popularity among Australians continues to grow, with over 600,000 Aussies currently registered as players.

 

Moraingy (Madagascar)

Originally created centuries ago as a way for young men to prove their worth, Moraingy is essentially a form of bare-knuckled boxing that is now practiced by both boys and girls. However, it is not as rough as it sounds. There is a referee, and they generally aren’t going for knockouts. The sport also has it own set of dance-like moves, and in fact there is a religious component to the sport, as it is usually accompanied by music that is known to lull fighters and spectators alike into a trancelike state. What’s more, between bouts the boxers perform dances.

Capoeira (Brazil)

Not many sports have been listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage assets by the UN and set aside for protection, but Capoeira has. Hundreds of years ago, Brazil, then part of the Portuguese empire, employed huge numbers of slaves, and those slaves would escape into the jungle whenever they could. Those slaves would be hunted down by professional slave-catchers, so the fugitive slaves would have to defend themselves against very well-armed attackers. This led to the creation of Capoeira, a form of unarmed combat that employs wild moves and dodges designed to confuse a foe. After many hundreds of years (and repeated attempts at banning) what was originally a self-defense technique is now much closer to a form of acrobatic performance. Capoeira has been exported around the world and is now performed on every continent, but in Brazil it remains a powerful cultural tradition.

Sign Up For a Summer Reading Challenge!

Reading is a critically important skill for young people to master. Of course it goes without saying that improved reading can help lead to better grades, but decades of study have found a great many other benefits from reading recreationally:

To encourage these and many other benefits, Tutor Doctor is happy to offer our Summer Reading Challenge. This includes a list of suggested reading, put together by a team of respected educational experts. The list covers multiple genres and reading levels, so you’re sure to find lots of reading ideas for your youngster. There’s also a worksheet that will help readers keep track of what they’re reading and what they learned.

Best of all, this Summer Reading Challenge is absolutely FREE.

Click here to download Tutor Doctor’s Summer Reading Challenge

Challenges Facing Rural Schools

Not all school boards are the same -- different boards face different challenges. This is particularly true when looking at rural schools. Around half of America’s school boards are in rural areas, but one thing we can say about rural education is that it is under-served. Students in rural schools are far less likely to attend college, for example, while services and extracurricular activities are generally far less available than in urban areas. This neglect even extends into basic research, with surprisingly few studies being aimed at rural teaching -- despite education being a field with constant studies on every conceivable subject. There is enough data, though, to identify some of the challenges facing rural educators.

Physical distance

City dwellers may reasonably expect to be able to walk their kids to school (or for their older kids to walk themselves), but in rural areas this is frequently impossible. Catchment areas can be very large, making it absolutely essential to arrange a ride to school. Time spent on school buses may easily be counted in the hours per day, while depending on those buses can often mean limited access to after-school activities and sports. Studies have linked long bus times to lowered educational outcomes. But what can be done? The most direct solution would be to build more schools in order to shrink ride times, but in reality rural schools are being shut down and bus rides are getting even longer.

Not only do these drive times hurt grades and after-school activities, they also make it harder to get extra help. Tutor Doctor offers in-home one-on-one tutoring, but other sources of support can be difficult to access due to distance.

Teacher hiring

In many urban areas, there is a glut of talented teachers but not enough jobs available to employ them. In rural areas, though, it can be extremely difficult to attract great teachers. Indeed hiring in general is tougher in rural areas, for fields extending far beyond education. Rural life isn’t for everyone, and a life that’s simpler can seem to some people like a life that’s “less than”. Many services such as health care can be harder to obtain, there may be fewer cultural attractions compared to big cities -- the list of reasons why teachers may be dissuaded from applying for jobs in rural areas can be long.

In reality, rural life and rural teaching offer a great many benefits one can never find in big cities, including an environment that’s cleaner (and safer), cheaper real estate plus a strong sense of community. Perceptions can be hard to fight, though, which can leave rural schools struggling to find staff. The usual approach is to offer higher pay or better side benefits, but this can often be difficult to afford.

Spotty Internet access

People in big cities take broadband Internet access for granted. Not only is it fairly easy to sign up for fast access, people in cities are frequently spoiled for choice. America, however, is still experiencing a digital divide, with, by some measures, more than a third of rural residents lacking access to broadband Internet.

This can drastically affect education. Not only does it make it hard for many teachers to employ digital resources such as YouTube in the classroom, but employing learning management systems (LMSs) such as Moodle can sometimes be impossible. Even accepting digital submissions of homework and assignments can be hard. Also rendered unavailable by slow Internet access are the vast opportunities for digital learning, eBooks, and the ability to collaborate online. Even basic software like Google Docs can be a struggle.

Efforts are still being made to expand rural access to broadband, but progress is slow.

Poverty

Nowhere is free of poverty, but rates of unemployment, malnutrition and poverty are markedly higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Unlike cities, though, where high population density tends to make poverty more visible, it can be much harder to see in rural areas, which makes it harder to cope with.

Poverty is proven to affect educational outcomes, and frequently leads to increased absenteeism (or early drop-outs). Schools frequently have programs to help, for instance providing meals to children in need, but given the large geographic areas in many rural school districts it’s not unusual for teachers to not know how their students are living.

Teachers need to be entrepreneurial

A little-known fact about rural areas in America: they have a much higher rate of entrepreneurialism. Perhaps the result of a different mindset or the difficulty in obtaining services (or a combination of these or more factors), many people in rural areas are just used to getting things done themselves. This extends to education as well. A teacher with a willingness to jump in and get things done will do far better in rural areas than a teacher who is used to being hemmed-in by a bureaucracy.

In rural areas, it’s not unusual for a superintendent to also serve as a principal and even drive a school bus. A “not my job” attitude can be a detriment in a community where everybody pitches in, and this can make it difficult for teachers who are used to specializing.

Five Abandoned Teaching Methods

There is always discussion and debate about new educational methods. For instance, nowadays there is a gradual move toward student-centered education. Of course there is also intense analysis about just what role digital technology should play in the classroom. Debates like these date from the earliest days of modern education, and have led to many well-established ideas being abandoned. Here are a few.

Huge Classes

We tend to think of early education as taking place in one-room schoolhouses, but the earliest attempts at mass education took place in big cities using the “Lancastrian” model, which had a lecture providing a rote lesson to hundreds of learners of different ages. Those students would then reproduce the rote lesson to other learners, and by a sort of viral process, education would spread. It was a kind of “wholesale” teaching model that didn’t last very long, enjoying its heyday in the early 1800s. The advent of public schools soon put an end to the method.

Rote Memorization

Teachers put content on the blackboard, students write it down. Teachers makes statements out loud, students repeat them. Over and over. Once, you see, it was believed that students are essentially empty vessels, with the teacher’s job being to fill their minds with knowledge. It was very much a one-way communication, with youngsters expected to memorize it with total accuracy. Welcome to education in the 19th Century.

The amount of teaching time devoted to memorization varied from school to school, but it was a key element of classroom life. Teaching culture had not yet been professionalized or studied empirically, so by our standards there were many aspects of Victorian teaching methods that would be highly objectionable today -- for instance there was little attempt made to connect with students as individuals and get them interested in the content, while windows were routinely placed high up so that students couldn’t see out (to prevent distractions).

It might sound like schooling was very boring back then, but students in those days learned very early on that any wavering in their attention resulted in physical pain, because corporal punishment was routine and casual.

Tracking (also called Streaming)

Not every student goes to college, and not every student can become a doctor or a lawyer. Each of us has our own path to follow. But for decades, educators largely made that decision on behalf of students by using a practice known as “tracking.” The process was simple. Early on in a student’s career, students would be separated into “tracks” based on where educators thought the students would end up. At the top were the college-bound, and at the bottom were the “vocational” students who were trained for jobs like carpentry and metalwork.

The system was completely unfair. As we now know, youngsters can struggle in their schoolwork for any of a very long list of reasons, ranging from having an exceptionality like ADHD to trouble at home to just having a different learning style. Today we recognize that given the proper help, including one-on-one tutoring, far more young people can achieve excellence than educators in previous generations would have believed.

The worst part of tracking is, because it relies on a one-size-fits-all view of education, it allows prejudice to become a deciding factor. Students were routinely “downgraded” because they were a different race or religion, or because they were poor.

Eventually, tracking fell by the wayside, essentially disappearing in the 1990s (though it still crops up from time to time).

New Math

People still make jokes about this one. It’s often described as introducing strange, nonsensical math concepts to youngsters, but here’s what happened: in the late 1950s, Americans were shocked out of a sense of technological complacency by the launch of the Sputnik satellite by the Soviet Union. This resulted in a crash program to send Americans to the moon, but it also launched a massive effort to close the perceived “engineer gap” with the USSR by, essentially, upping America’s STEM game.

Thence came the New Math, as it was called. This was the intensive introduction of math concepts into public schools that were far in advance of anything attempted before. Even the teachers were often baffled. The goal was to produce a generation of superhuman mathletes, but instead it generated mass head-scratching and a great many jokes on late-night talk shows. Even distinguished scientists like Richard Feynman came out against the move, pointing out that regular folk, professionals, scientists, engineers and mathematicians all used math in different ways and it made no sense to try shoving everyone into science and engineering.

The new math was only a brief fad, but to this day it remains a synonym for absurd nonsense.

Open Areas

The idea was very straightforward: create a large open area, perhaps by merging several classrooms, then populating it with a wide range of students of different ages and skill levels. Within the open area, students would work according to their skill levels rather than be grouped by age. At the same time, students would help one another solve problems and learn skills, while the teachers would move between the groups providing help and guidance as needed.

In many ways, the open area resembles the student-centered learning techniques that are considered cutting-edge in the 21st Century. However without proper guidance by the teachers, and especially advanced training of those teachers, the whole thing can be a mess. Assessment especially can be problematic.

There have been many advances on the concept in recent years, and similar practices are being adopted in more and more schools. However the open area concept was only briefly employed in the 1970s before being largely forgotten.

A Look At Elon Musk’s “Secret” Private School

Elon Musk is, without doubt, an extraordinary person. Born in South Africa, Musk made his fortune with PayPal, eventually selling out to form a veritable galaxy of companies and technologies. These include electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla, private space company Space-X, the remarkable HyperLoop technology that promises to revolutionize high speed ground transport, and cutting-edge solar power manufacturer SolarCity. He even created a “Boring Company” (yes that’s really its name) designed to dig massive underground tunnels beneath cities like Los Angeles in order to reduce traffic congestion. He’s among the wealthiest people on earth, with an estimated net worth of $15.2 billion. Among his initiatives, however, is a particularly tantalizing effort: he built a school.

Elon Musk is a dad with five sons: a pair of twins born in 2004, and a set of triplets born in 2006. By all accounts Musk is a devoted, involved dad, and when they began attending school in early 2010 Musk was dissatisfied with the education they were receiving. This isn’t about private versus public school but rather the education models used by pretty much all schools in America. Well, Musk didn’t like it and so, as an entrepreneurial tinker, he started his own school, originally for the children of Space-X employees called, appropriately enough, Ad Astra (to the stars).

Ad Astra has one philosophy at its core: student-centered learning. This is an unorthodox approach that, in the case of Ad Astra, employs individualized courses of study that allows students to pursue their interests and passions in addition to required material. According to Musk, the goal is to have education adjust to the unique characteristics of each student, rejecting what Musk calls the “mass production” approach of current schooling that requires young people to adjust to fit the system.

"Some people love English or languages. Some people love math. Some people love music. Different abilities, different times," Musk says. "It makes more sense to cater the education to match their aptitudes and abilities."

The school does not have grades, with all students learning together and helping one another when needed, and whenever possible the goal is to emphasize hands-on learning. According to Musk, the goal is to empower students to follow their passions while encouraging each student to focus on problem-solving.

The latest reports have indicated that Ad Astra is still a very small endeavor, with only around two dozen students enrolled. And is it working? Musk himself insists it does indeed work -- almost to a fault. He says his sons now prefer school over holidays, and get fidgety when they’ve been away from school too long.

Toward a Better Understanding of ADD/ADHD

In the United States, an estimated 11% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD -- that’s almost 6.5 million kids. The rate of diagnosis has increased steadily over the years and shows no sign of slowing down. But there are still a great many misconceptions about the disorder, so let’s see if we can clear some up.

What’s the difference between ADHD and ADD?

Actually both terms describe the same thing. The main thing is that ADD is an old, outdated term that is not really used anymore. Originally, the term ADD described a person who was inattentive but not hyperactive, but in 2013 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, volume five (DSM-V) replaced ADD with ADHD, while expanding the definition to include multiple types. In other words, junk the term ADD.

What exactly is ADHD?

It’s important to remember that current thinking as regards many childhood disorders like ADHD and autism is that we now recognize that all exceptionalities affect different people in different ways. It’s no longer about stereotyping, it’s about trying to understand how something like ADHD affects the individual, because no two people are affected in exactly the same way.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of ADHD:

  1. Inattentive: as the name suggests, this describes someone who has trouble focusing, or who is easily distracted (or both). This person is not, however, hyperactive or prone to impulsive behavior.

  2. Hyperactive: hyperactivity is a tendency to constantly need to move and be active, even when doing so is disruptive. It also denotes someone who is overly impulsive. At the same time they are not inattentive.

  3. Combined: Someone who combines the symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

As you can see, there are many ways a person might behave with an ADHD diagnosis, so don’t make any assumptions.

What causes ADHD?

As with so many childhood disorders, no one really knows what causes ADHD. Some things are known; for example it runs in families, so that someone who has ADHD has around a 50-50 chance of having a child with it. This suggests a genetic component. However studies suggest that environmental influences play a role, with odds of developing ADHD apparently increasing with exposure in utero to substances like cigarettes, alcohol, PCBs or lead. It may also be connected to low birth weight, premature birth or even head injuries. In other words the science suggests many possibilities but nothing solid as yet.

Whatever the cause (or causes), ADHD seems to affect the chemistry of the brain, including neurotransmitters. Certain parts of the brains of people with ADHD may also be smaller than those without it.

What is the treatment for ADHD?

Previously, there was really only one form of treatment for ADHD: Medication. Specifically, in the case of children, stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall. One might think it strange to prescribe stimulants to youngsters who may have trouble sitting still and focusing, but stimulants in children tend to have the opposite effect than in adults -- it calms them down. It should be noted that not every child with ADHD is prescribed medication. As with the disorder itself, responses to drugs may vary according to the individual. There are also side effects, which can sometimes be difficult to bear. Also parents can be very resistant to giving medication to their kids, even though these stimulants are generally considered safe.

Nowadays, most doctors recognize that medication alone is only a partial solution; a course of treatment usually includes psychotherapy as well. The focus here is behavior modification, helping the child understand ADHD and how best to adjust to its effects. Parents are often urged to undergo therapy as well, to help them cope with the new challenges they will face.

Does ADHD mean my kid can’t have a happy life?

Most definitely not! Kids with ADHD are still human beings capable of great achievement and great happiness. In fact, ADHD can be a source of strength, as one effect of the disorder may be something called “hyperfocus.” This means that someone with ADHD can devote phenomenal amounts of attention and energy toward a task or goal that really interests them. Some studies find that a large percentage of successful entrepreneurs have ADHD. Even the impulsiveness sometimes associated with ADHD can be a great benefit, allowing a certain amount of daring.

ADHD can lead to many struggles for a young person trying to get through school -- sitting still in class, paying attention to lectures, behaving according to expectations that can be difficult to meet, all of these can present many challenges. But once school is done, people with ADHD, in full knowledge of how their mind works and what sort of situations suit them best, can indeed find success and happiness.

Four Great Summer Portfolio Projects

Ah, the Internet. The source of so much stuff we dislike: bullying, trolling, false information, and material that’s just plain objectionable. But there’s a lot of wonderful content out there as well, and the really great thing is that young people can add to the good stuff all on their own. At the same time, creating something special can create a valuable online presence for young people headed for college. The following projects, once completed, will turn up as top results when someone performs a web search of their creator’s name. This will raise their profile not just for college admissions officers but future employers too.

1. Write and self-publish a book

“Write a book? Me?” Yes, you. Not every book is a high-level work of literature. There are collections of short stories, or short novellas, or of course non-fiction, in areas like self-help, photography or countless other areas. Perhaps your youngster is passionate about sketching, or scrapbooking, or has an idea for a kid’s book. Or maybe it’s a novel! The Outsiders was written when S. E. Hinton was still in high school in Oklahoma. The best part is, once you’ve got it together, you can just put it into a word processor like Microsoft Word, create a snazzy cover using free design sites like Canva, then upload it to your favorite book retailer for sale as an eBook. It doesn’t matter if it sells or not, you’ll be able to say you’ve got a book out there! How cool is that?

2. Create a short film

It’s completely wrong to say that movies can’t be made without access to a towering pile of very expensive equipment. Not true! First of all, excellent, pro-level movies are now routinely being made with single hand-held cameras and no lighting -- some even recording video with smartphones. The Red Baron once said, “It’s not the plane, it’s the man inside the plane that counts” and this is very true in filmmaking. If you can come up with a good idea and shoot it in a unique way, you can definitely make a movie that would be a great portfolio piece. A basic laptop would have enough horsepower to edit your film, and the project would be a great way to learn tons of film skills, from writing to storyboarding to transitions and even computer generated imagery (CGI). Once done, you can upload it to the web, and even get yourself an entry in the Internet Movie Database. Remember that film is a group effort, so don’t try to tackle it alone. Use your friends, they’ll be glad to help with something this cool!

3. Record and sell an album

The music industry can be difficult. You’re expected to work away, sometimes for years, performing live, honing your sound and writing songs. At the end of it, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a recording contract and then cut an album. But why not just record an album yourself? All you’ll need are your instrument(s), some basic recording devices, and a basic computer -- and there is great audio editing software available for free. If you’re a solo musician, you can learn how to perform different parts in the same song, but in any event the hard part will be writing your songs. Once you’ve got them all done, you can upload them to aggregators, which will then place your album for sale in all the top online retailers like iTunes and the Google Play store. Rock on!

4. Start an online magazine

Print magazines are very difficult and costly to manage. Thankfully, an online-only magazine can be set up for free and run with little or no money. A young person could create a website using any number of free services like Wordpress, including a unique URL and a simple but attractive layout -- no programming or design skills required. After that, posting to local classified sites for writing interns will get you tons of writers more than happy to write articles for your site. It might help to just use locals in your community, including classmates. Once the site is up and running you could even run ads and make a little bit of money (let’s be honest -- probably a very little bit). You’d be helping inform your neighborhood while raising your online profile at the same time. Win-win!

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