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.      

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.

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