Winter Newsletter 2017

Does Your Child Have the Gift of ADHD?

Must Watch Video on ADHD

Link to share:

(Note: More videos are available on our website through this link,


Dr. Rizzo Endorses Judy Dempsey’s book, Turning Education Inside Out

Look for Dr. Rizzo’s contribution to Judy Dempsey’s book Turning Education Inside Out on page 261. Click here to buy the book on Amazon. Below is a quick excerpt of Dr. Rizzo’s involvement in Judy Dempsey’s book:

“As I study neuroscience, the more I learn, the more I am convinced Maria Montessori was in fact a century ahead of her time. Understanding the neurobiology of learning, motivation, and character development results in a clear unquestionable “a-ha” experience that everything Maria Montessori believed is correct.

As a consequence of my involvement with hundreds of schools, public and private, I have visited and observed more learning/teaching environments than most people. Over the years, I always find myself amazed at what I see happening in the Montessori classroom. To the untrained observer, these classroom environments may seem unstructured, and even chaotic. In fact, they are just the opposite.

Children are grouped in much larger age ranges. Specific developmental sequences are built into the curriculum and children are engaged at the level of personal readiness. Eventually, as was Maria Montessori’s belief, mastery will come. Mastery does not come on the same day with each child. Mastery will come when the individual’s brain is ready. These developmental sequences of learning opportunities are designed around all modalities (visual, kinesthetic/motor, and auditory/verbal). Each “thing” in a Montessori classroom is there for a reason. Each child can engage in learning without feeling embarrassed, intimidated, and/or under pressure to keep up with what the others are doing. This is what makes the Montessori learning environment so magical…”


South Florida Dyslexia Institute

Individuals with dyslexia share many features in common, however, each is also unique. Remediation programming must be flexible and dynamic, matching specific remedial strategies to specific constellations of symptom clusters. Phonological skills, somatosensory skills, timing (processing speed), working memory, attention, emotional regulation, and social skills development are all areas addressed in a truly comprehensive remediation program. Just as muscular systems with specific targeted exercises can be improved, so can cognitive systems and areas of academic weakness.

The South Florida Dyslexia Institute provides dyslexic students with intensive, science-based, prescriptive, cognitive and academic remediation. Beyond cognitive and academic skill development, social, emotional, and attentional skills are also targeted. Again, while individuals with dyslexia share many features in common, each is also unique. Therefore, intervention programs must be flexible and dynamic in matching specific remedial strategies to specific constellations of symptom clusters.

Few psychologists have training in school neuropsychological theory, best practice assessment techniques, and evidenced-based interventions. Children are increasingly arriving at school with known or suspected learning challenges related to neurological differences in the core cognitive abilities and skills required for academic success. Approximately fifteen percent of students demonstrate average or better intelligence and struggle with aspects of managing school curriculum (reading, writing, listening or mathematics). These students do not lack intelligence. Rather, they demonstrate differences in brain organization which impedes learning like most peers.  Our staff at the South Florida Dyslexia Institute (SFDI) are experts in understanding how children learn, diagnosing underlying systemic differences in brain function that impede academic skill acquisition, and specialize in the treatment of comorbid social, attentional and emotional concerns. Dr. Michael Rizzo, founder and clinical director of SFDI, is himself dyslexic. In spite of his learning challenges, he went on to earn his doctorate and become a licensed school psychologist. He has dedicated his life to working with children with learning challenges.


Summer Camp – Brainforest Adventures!

We have two summer locations,

Naples, FL and Weston, FL. 

Our summer program (click here) combines a unique learning experience through educational fun and games, so children go back to school with higher self-esteem and academic readiness for the upcoming school year. The Brainforest Summer Adventure Camp provides a personalized, nurturing environment, where children are empowered to reach higher levels of success. Students will benefit from enhancing attentional skills, emotional regulation, and social skills. Speech Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy services are also offered. Field trips, arts and crafts activities, water play, science activities, and sports and recreation are also components of the Brainforest Summer Adventure Camp.

  • State-of-the-art technology based cognitive remediation (e.g., CogMed, Fast ForWord, Activate, Success Maker, IXL Learning, etc)
  • Academic coaching and study skills training; one-to-one instructional tutoring in reading and math.
  • Social skills training based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Social Thinking Model.” This curriculum fosters increased self-awareness and social expectations.

For partial and full day program options, please call 954-577-3396.


Social Skills Groups

Ages 5-10

This year’s bowling group is focused on our elementary school children,

ages 5 to 10. Children will explore the intricate relationship between how they feel and behave, and its influence on how they are seen and treated by others. Interventions are delivered during a structured 30-45 minute group activity, after which group members bowl in teams and social performance is assessed and addressed informally. At the end of group, participants enjoy food and refreshments. Sessions are held at SPAREZ, each Monday from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. For more information, please call 954.577.3396.

Ages 11-16

This year’s bowling group is focused on our middle school and early high school students, ages 11-16. Students will learn communication skills such as how to initiate and maintain conversations, switch topics while avoiding train wrecks, monitor body language, voice volume and tone, interpret expressions and hidden language, and much more. Sessions are held at SPAREZ, each Wednesday, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. For more information, please call 954.577.3396.


TED Talk Nomination

Please help us out! We are nominating Dr. Rizzo (a.k.a. Coach Mike) to share his presentations with a greater audience. Coach Mike travels around the country giving presentations to universities, schools and conventions. He has spent his life helping others and is asking for a chance to help more children on a broader scale. Here is the link to fill out a nomination form, it shouldn’t take more than a minute, but you are free to accept or refuse! Thank you in advance.

Click here:

For more examples of Dr. Rizzo’s talks, you can click the following link to watch even more:


New Website

If you haven’t already noticed, our website has entered the twenty-first century (Happy New Year!).

For our SFDI Parents: Several features of the website such as the parent login portal are being upgraded as we are revamping our system for you to track your child’s progress every day. Each child will get their own personal page: This is where you will be able to track your child’s progress, and ONLY you can see this information upon creating an account and being logged into our website. Our teachers and psychologists can log into their accounts and insert information for you to track on your end all from one page! We figured the simpler we can make things, the better it is for everybody!

We Are Taking Testimonials!

We want you to share your story. On our new site, we are sharing testimonials of those shared with us. Not all will make it onto the site because that would be very overwhelming, but if you felt we have been of great value to you and your family, we want to hear about it. Last names will not be shown and you have the right to remain anonymous. Upon request, we may change your first name and your child’s name on our testimonial page, while sharing your unique story with the world. If you would like to be heard, please email us your story at

Open Invitation!

Please check our social media sites (Twitter and Facebook) and website ( regularly to find dates and locations to Dr. Rizzo’s upcoming presentations!


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