Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Working with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia

So, most of you know that Nathan has dyslexia. We have worked very hard this past 2 years with intensive reading programs, and brain training therapy. The therapy continues until the end of March. He has made fantastic progress with reading, but is still considered behind. He is in sixth grade, and is reading solidly at a third grade level. I'm actually excited about that because third grade books are no longer 'baby' books that he was reading a year ago.

This 'tool' was mentioned to me by our charter teacher. It looks like the best thing ever. It doesn't release until February though.

http://www.hiddenabilities.org/      

It's a stylus-style instrument that will read aloud the book as you swipe it across the words. The person 'reading' will be able to read much faster, and in a class setting, would be able to keep up with the class' pace.  It's amazingly fantastic.

However, Nathan also has Dysgraphia.  This is the inability of the brain to communicate with the hand to write.  Nathan's fine motor skills are perfect, for example, he can build intricate Lego creations with no problem. But somehow, the writing is a different skill set using a different part of the brain. His writing still looks like a Kindergartener - too big, weird spacing, sloppy, mixed upper and lower case letters, etc.  After 2 years of work on this, there has been NO improvement.  So, this year we are teaching him to type.

Typing seems to be a decent work around for about half the people with dysgraphia. If this doesn't work for Nathan, we'll have to see about Speech-to-Text programs.  He's going into 7th grade next year, and can barely write more than a sentence.

I'll admit that I'm a bit worried. I know there are 6 more years of his schooling, and the brain is 'plastic' and can be changed over time. I know, I know.  But imagining this child as an adult who needs to fill out a job application...

He says he wants to be a Game Warden (I know, that can change...). That means criminal justice requirements - college. Oiy.

Sigh.  I know Jesus is big enough for this too. In the meantime, I'm doing everything I know to do to stimulate his brain development - piano, karate, typing, brain therapy, etc.

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm a rebel!

Folks, today I did something so crazy-backwards, I shock myself.

A certain small someone who shall remain nameless spilled a HUGE CUP of watermelon juice in the kitchen.  Then dear Sethy ran up and had a grand time splashing it all over. Side thought - it's really hard to clean a big mess with a 2yr old 'helping' and a 4yr old wailing.

People, my whole dining room and kitchen were so sticky, I just couldn't bother with sweeping. So I mopped the whole floor BEFORE I swept. After the stickies were gone, I swept. And you know what? The floor was just as clean as when I do it the other way around.

Y'all. The brazen backwardness of it all just makes me quiver! Makes me wonder what other processes might work backwards.

And then Seth took off his undies and pooped on the floor.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Crazy Busy!

So, June went off the charts for us.  I'm usually pretty good about being purposeful in our schedule to not over commit, leave time for breathing, and just have blank space.  You know, margin.  I don't know what happened.

I signed 2 kids up for a Lego Engineering class on Tuesday mornings.  They love it. So I decided to sign the big girl up for an excellerated (excelarated? exceller.....) super fast Biology class for the summer.  Thursdays.  Which completely conflicts with Thursday piano lessons. Oops.  After a quick consult with Mrs. B., we got the kinks worked out.

But swim classes start next week - every day for 2 weeks solid. On Tuesdays, I'll have to send the kids to Lego class in their swimming gear so I can pick them up a few minutes early and jet them over to the pool. Plus, with the Thursday piano/biology fiasco, I just can't even.

We also have a homeschool conference, a bridal shower, knitting club and a few other activities, all of which just make my brain twitch. PLUS, next week, we get the half a cow we ordered.  387 pounds of meat - I'm trying not to hyperventilate as I ponder if it will all fit the in the freezer...

But the Lord Jesus was merciful and TWO families invited us to dinner this month.  At their houses. In the same month. Who says miracles don't happen anymore?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

So, this week I've been fighting some pretty severe blues. Just slogging through, you know?  So I'm going to try and focus on some good stuff today..

Pretty
I thought we are a cute family!  My face is flushed because holding a toddler is much like holding a space heater.

Happy - I'm sure something happy happened this week, but I can't for the life of me think of one.  My garden is growing. Sort of. I planted over a hundred seeds of various types, and I now have 12 plants. Maybe I'm not a seed person...

Funny - When I woke up this morning, I was so happy because it was Friday. Except it's not.

Real - See above for the Friday thing...

Hmm...after re-reading this post, I see the blues are still hanging on. But piano teacher comes this morning, so I'll get to listen to an hour and a half of scales and poorly played Yankee Doodle. So there's that...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A bit overwhelmed...

My son has dyslexia.  I have started a new Reading/Brain Therapy program with him, but it's very different and I still feel as if I have only the vague outline of what I'm doing.

Hannah got braces today and is so sore and there is nothing I can do to make it better.

Seth has a cold and fell asleep on the couch after smearing yogurt all over himself.

I have a mild cold and allergies and 487 things to do before I go to bed tonight.

If I 'do school' between 9am and 3pm (which I do), I have to squeeze in all the other stuff before or after.  Like workouts, showers, laundry, the orthodontist, nagging kids to do their chores, phone calls to the AC repair place, grocery shopping, and Seth needs new shoes.

I know that 10 years from now it will all be worth it.  But right now, 10 years seems so far away...


Friday, March 18, 2016

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

This has been a topsy-turvy week. Not a bad week, just every day is some different, random, sort of thing that makes me wonder What The Heck Is Going On?!?!  We have ALL had colds - all 8 of us, in some form or other. But we're on the upswing now, and all is well.

Pretty -
Isn't she pretty?
Hannah will turn 14 next month, and I just can't figure out how that happened so quickly.

Happy - I just ordered Dianne Craft's Reading Program.  I'm so happy and relieved to have an actual lesson plan-style program.  I desperately hope it works.

Funny - We got Josiah a coaster bike - no pedals.  But he stands up and just walks it around.  I'm telling myself that he'll eventually figure it out.  Right?

Real - Nathan has been having trouble reading for a loooooong time.  I put him through a pretty intensive phonics based program last year, and we saw much improvement, but the problem is still there.  I finally got every book on Dyslexia that my library system had, and have completely overwhelmed myself.  I'm convinced Nathan has dyslexia.  But how to teach to this learning ability? How to learn enough myself, and learn the right things, to be able to teach? Without wasting time on stuff that doesn't work?   Back to the Happy line - this Reading Program includes Brain Therapy Integration, and I just pray 'Lord Jesus, please let it work'. 

I've been learning a lot on left-brain learning, right-brain learning, phonemic awareness, the importance of crossing-the-midline, etc.  It's a bit like trying to drink out of a fire hose.  This is going to take awhile to absorb. 


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tuesday

Tuesday was a day.  The kind of day when you stand there, dumbfounded, at all the things that went wrong in a mere 12 hours.  Let me highlight 2 things that exemplified my Tuesday.


A particular child was NOT doing what they were supposed to be doing, and so was goofing off.  Said child accidentally broke something that I loved.  I may have let an ugly word escape my mouth, and realized that I had to leave the room.

It took me longer than expected to calm down, but I managed.  Same child was responsible for making lunch - quesadillas.  I got them started, everything appeared to be going well.  I went to the back of the house to put laundry in the dryer - two minutes, tops. As I pushed the button to turn the dryer on, that child runs past me with a kitchen garbage bag ON FIRE!!!  Okay, it was a small fire, but still.

We got the bag outside, stomped on it a few times, poured some water on it.  It was fine.  The house was fine, no one was burned.

Apparently, child found a left over smoke bomb from July 4.  Child decided that 6 months was very old, and wondered if the wick would even light.  So, they tested the wick.  Yup, it lit just fine.  Child freaked out and threw smoke bomb in the trash can.  Which was full of paper.

Child was appropriately apologetic, beat themselves up for awhile, and life went on.

Don't you envy me?