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Newbie with questions about curriculum choice for FASD?

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#1 mykdsmomy

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 04:56 PM

Hi, I'm new (although I recognize some of you here ;) ). I am having difficulties finding a type of curriculum for my youngest son. I have always taken a relaxed approach to him because of his unique challenges. He has a list of acronyms as far as dx. His greatest challenge is his inability to self regulate. He has severe learning challenges and although he is six, he still cannot recognize all of his letters. He won't sit still for school. He doesn't like any sort of formal curriculum. He frustrates easily so that just makes teaching him all the harder.
The type of curriculum he needs is simple, concrete (no abstract), preferably with a Christian tone (but I can always supplement). (I realize the last two contradict each other some). He also needs multi sensory learning. He is a sensory seeker and likes to jump!
I checked out Headsprout and we will try a few more lessons before I decide to take the plunge. I am conflicted because it reminds me a lot of Starfall and he can't stay focused for that. One of the problems is that he likes the excitement of the animation but if it goes too slow, he loses interest. If it goes too fast, he doesn't absorb. (hopefully that makes sense).
I set some goals for this month and one of them is to teach him to sit still for 5 minutes. I'm just having a hard time implementing that.
We started doing a lapbook last week on seeds. It was tiring for me because he didn't want to cut/paste anything. He liked the painting and drawing aspect of it...so we shared the jobs. I was thinking of doing lapbooks with him for phonics...but I don't even know how that will go over.
After reading through all of my explaining/venting, I'm hoping someone will have some suggestions :) Thanks for listening!

#2 KarenAnne

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:20 PM

A concrete, structured curriculum does not have to take place while a kid sits down at a desk or table to do it, at age six, or even at ages eight or ten. There are lots of active games to play that work on exactly the same skills you would find in a typical K-1 program.

Peggy Kaye's series of books (Games For Math, Games For Learning, Games For Reading) are wonderful fonts of ideas for very simple games (most libraries have them). Example: write numbers from 1 to 10 in colorful chalk on the driveway or sidewalk and call out numbers, or simple addition problems, or whatever you're working on, that requires him to jump and hop all over the place onto the number that is the answer. There's a commercial game that is similar: it has a plastic mat with numbers on it, and an audio unit type thing that calls out numbers or problems and the kid jumps to the square with the right number on it. It beeps and lights up, that kind of thing.

Make your beginning phonics work similarly active. Paint and decorate cardboard letters (oversized ones), trace sandpaper letters, write in shaving cream squirted on the shower wall, spray or squirt letter shapes with tinted water. Hang up pieces of paper, each with a letter you're working on recognizing, written with large, bright markers, on a wall and do target practice with bean bags or small balls, shouting out the letter names you're aiming for each time. I've read about writing letters on a board high up on a wall so the child has to jump up to touch them as you call out the letter sound or name. Or write outside: in the dirt, in the sand, in the mud -- have your son make the hugest letter he can to start with, as a kind of game. and then walk or jump all over it.

You don't need to do much more with a six-year-old, but your child might also love hands-on, messy science: there are kits for young children for making slime, mixing colors, investigating bubbles, making simple balloon rockets, etc.

I'd take heart in his love of drawing and painting. Will he draw while you read? Some kids cannot sit still without doing something with their hands, such as building with blocks, playing with play dough, etc. Others can listen if they bounce on a ball or jump on a mini-trampoline. See if anything at all like this will work.

Homeschooling a child like this can be very exhausting and frustrating -- but you can lessen that by going along with his need for motion and activity.

#3 Geo

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:32 PM

Found an interesting article on FASD and Poor Executive Function (self-regulation). The researcher has seen improvement for poor EF through cognitive exercises, such as Audiblox and other programs. His recommendations start on page 9, but the whole article was an interesting read. It may be best to comprise your curriculum of programs like Brain Gym, Earobics, Audiblox, etc...before you attempt academics. When you think about it, he needs to build the foundation on which those studies will rest. It just wouldn't be effective to put the cart before the horse.

Here is the article: http://webcache.goog...asd&hl=en&gl=us
scroll down to article (page 9 lists effective programs)



and a couple of the recommended resources:
http://www.audiblox2000.com/

http://www.learninginfo.org/robyn.htm
testimonial of audiblox w/FAS child

http://www.earobics.com/

http://www.braingym....chk=1&Itemid=11



HIH,
Geo

Edited by Geo, 11 May 2010 - 01:01 AM.


#4 mykdsmomy

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 12:41 AM

A concrete, structured curriculum does not have to take place while a kid sits down at a desk or table to do it, at age six, or even at ages eight or ten. There are lots of active games to play that work on exactly the same skills you would find in a typical K-1 program.


Thank you for the suggestions :) I hadn't heard of those books you mentioned so I will definitely check those out for suggestions as well.
Boo LOVES science experiments. He loves making slime/goo/playdoh, etc. I know Michaels has some Science kits so maybe I need to purchase a few of those.
I liked your suggestion of having him draw while I read to him. Part of his problem is opposition to anything I suggest if it's not HIS idea. He wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it and that is something that we struggle with daily. Thanks again, I really appreciate the suggestions :)

Found an interesting article on FASD and Poor Executive Function (self-regulation). The researcher has seen improvement for poor EF through cognitive exercises, such as Audiblox and other programs. His recommendations start on page 9, but the whole article was an interesting read. It may be best to comprise your curriculum of programs like Brain Gym, Earobics, Audiblox, etc...before you attempt academics. When you think about it, he needs to build the foundation on which those studies will rest. It just wouldn't be effective to put the cart before the horse.

Here is the article: http://webcache.goog...asd&hl=en&gl=us
scroll down to article (page 9 lists effective programs)



and a couple of the recommended resources:
http://www.audiblox2000.com/

http://www.learninginfo.org/robyn.htm
testimonial of audiblox w/FAS child


http://www.amazon.co...73552256&sr=1-1


HIH,
Geo


Thank you soooo much for the great info!!! I will go read all the links right now. Not many people know much about FASD and how it affects every aspect of a child's life. I totally agree with your suggestion of not putting the cart before the horse. It's so true. I cannot delve into the academics (wholeheartedly) until Boo can learn to sit and absorb. Off to read the links! Thank you both for all your help!

#5 Geo

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 01:45 AM

Judy,
Interestingly, I have been looking into brain exercises for my son, so I am quite bent in that direction right now. I understand that this avenue requires serious commitment and lots of hard work on behalf of both parent and child. The testimonies to it's effectiveness abound. I know that one of the resources listed in the article was Brain Gym. However, if you search it on amazon, there are several books on the topic of mind/body exercises (with great reviews) for neuro deficits in children (adhd, autism, asperger's, dyslexia, etc.)...not just Brain Gym. In my opinion, it might be easier and less stressful to implement the mind/body exercises first, for a period of time, like 6-8 wks, before a program like Audiblox. BTW, I added a couple more links for listed resources in my first post.

Keep us posted on any improvements...:D

Geo

Edited by Geo, 11 May 2010 - 02:40 AM.


#6 KarenAnne

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 01:04 PM

[quote name='mykdsmomy']
I liked your suggestion of having him draw while I read to him. Part of his problem is opposition to anything I suggest if it's not HIS idea. He wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it and that is something that we struggle with daily. Thanks again, I really appreciate the suggestions :)


Boy, do I know this all too well. How about thinking up a few things he could do -- drawing, play dough, shaping wikki sticks, playing with magic sand (the kind that stays wet and shape-able), whatever you think might help him while you read -- writing them on slips of paper, and letting him choose one from a jar before a read aloud? That way he might feel he has enough input into the process and not resist so much... maybe.

#7 Evergreen Academy

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 02:44 PM

My littlest, ds6 (7 in two days!), likely does not have FAS (we don't know for sure, he came home at 3), but was born 9 weeks early and does have auditory processing issues, spaces out, and gets a bad case of the wiggles when he has to do his work! Many of the suggestions of hands-on things that others have suggested work great for him, as well as a few other things I'll add.

- I bought him a wiggle seat for the times when he has to sit - it's a cheaper version of the disc-o-sit found in sensory catalogs; ours came from the exercise department.
- Playdough or something to squeeze when he has to listen helps him focus.
- He is also resistant to me telling him what to do when, but if I have a list, he loves to follow it and check items off. We have one for each day of the week (basic ideas like "school," "gym," "co-op" and "church) and I make up a list for the week with very basic things like reading, math, etc. He will zip through much to get to cross items out. And then it is the list, and not me telling him what to do.
- When it is time, your ds may really like Explode the Code; short, easy lessons, very visual; start with Get Ready, Get Set and Go for the Code books for letter recognition.
- My ds also does best with very simple, concrete work - nothing abstract. We started this year with me reading a short book (with pictures) and asking him to tell me something (anything!) about it. It was so difficult for him, but he is making progress. I can now read a chapter without pictures, though I have to stop regularly to ask whether he understands words, etc, and to help him refocus when he is zoning out. I ask questions every page or so to see if he's with me - about 1/2 the time he is now (sad but what an improvement). It is laborious but I consider it therapy and training as well as reading.
- EVERYTHING we do is theraputic for this child, you know? Reading, talking, baking, there is learning going on everywhere. I need to be reminded that sometimes it's really ok - no, it's his work - to go off and paint, ride his bike and make a mess of his toys and blocks.
- Exercise - it often helps my ds if I take him for a good 20 minute walk or bike ride before trying to do anything schoolish.
-ds loves copywork and loves to draw. Your ds might be willing to copy the letter or word you're working on, and draw a picture to go with it, and you could compile a book of his work.
-my ds would like nothing better than to draw trains all day; free drawing time is a reward when he finishes two of his little subjects.

Don't know if any of this helps but I do feel for you! One thing that reassures me is to remember that my ds would be SO lost in school, and no-one would know what a great, creative, loving little guy he is. Your son is lucky to have you, who know him best, walking alongside him to help him learn.
Blessings,
Aimee
mom to 6 great kids, ages 6-19, schooling grades 1, 3, 3 and 6

#8 Ottakee

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 04:10 PM

My oldest is FAS. He is now 22. He came home at 7 1/2 years old.

For reading, I would suggest the I See Sam books. www.3rsplus.com or www.iseesam.com http://www.teacherwe...to/printap2.stm has the first 2 sets for free. Make sure to read the directions at the first 2 websites for how to use them. They start out with only 6 sounds and 3 words and go from there---slowly but you if he can move faster you can read more books.

You mention that his attention span is low. I first heard about using the Omega 3s at an FAS seminar. I guess research shows that the alcohol the birth mom drinks interfers with the fat in the brain. We use County Life Omega 3 Mood but for a liquid, www.omegabrite.com is good as well. You want to get 1000mg of EPA (NOT just total fish oil).

#9 Evergreen Academy

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 04:50 PM

YES! I read about fish oil increasing brain function, and at the recommendation of another adoptive mother, started my son on Nordic Naturals DHA. My son takes on 500 mg gelcap once a day and it has had a noticable impact on his ability to concentrate, as well as decreasing his impulsivity. His speech also increased dramatically within the first week of starting DHA, to the point where people outside the family were noticing. While we're on nutritional things, if ds has nitrates or artificial colors, he becomes hyper and much more spacey, and schoolwork is impossible.
Blessings,
Aimee
mom to 6 great kids, ages 6-19, schooling grades 1, 3, 3 and 6

#10 mykdsmomy

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 01:51 AM

Thank you all for the great suggestions! I've been giving him these: http://www.amazon.co...h/dp/B001KYRUQ2

I was thinking of doing the Carlson's for kids liquid though. I'll check out the other links too.

I hear many of you say that your children have to do x to get y. This is usually non effective for us. Boo just flat out refuses to do "school". Even if I give him incentives, he still refuses.

He is extremely oppositional but super active so it's important to keep him engaged in activities constantly or he will become destructive. It's not always horrible and he does have pockets of time where he cooperates.
I think what I'm slowly trying to do is get him into a routine where he can expect the activities to be consistent. Routine is key for him (any child with FASD). I have given him lots of free play time and haven't tried to really implement any sort of solid structure.

Thank you all again for the great suggestions. I'm loving all the input!!! :)

#11 Geo

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 11:51 AM

I think what I'm slowly trying to do is get him into a routine where he can expect the activities to be consistent. Routine is key for him (any child with FASD). I have given him lots of free play time and haven't tried to really implement any sort of solid structure.


:thumbup:

Geo

#12 Ottakee

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 07:13 AM

[quote name='mykdsmomy'] Thank you all for the great suggestions! I've been giving him these: http://www.amazon.co...h/dp/B001KYRUQ2

I was thinking of doing the Carlson's for kids liquid though. I'll check out the other links too.


I looked at these and they only have 120mg of fish oil in two of them. For things like FAS, other brain issues, etc. ou likely want something with 1000mg of EPA (NOT just total fish oil). I think some of the Carlson's ones have this as do the County Life Omega 3 Mood (2 per day) or Omega Brites (3 capsules or 2/3 tsp. liquid a day).



#13 mykdsmomy

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:09 PM

I'm going to look at the Carlson's and the Omega Brites. Thank you....I also heard that choline is supposed to be helpful but I'm not sure on dosage.

#14 Momto5

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 10:53 PM

I can't tell you how happy I am to have found this discussion! Thank you mykdsmomy for starting it (I hope you join the board).

I have read all your suggestions and am working to implement many of them in my home. It is so nice to hear from other moms parenting FASD children. It can feel very lonely.

#15 mykdsmomy

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:15 AM

I can't tell you how happy I am to have found this discussion! Thank you mykdsmomy for starting it (I hope you join the board).

I have read all your suggestions and am working to implement many of them in my home. It is so nice to hear from other moms parenting FASD children. It can feel very lonely.


YES!!!!! So glad I'm not alone here :) (((hugs)))

#16 mykdsmomy

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:12 PM

I wound up buying Twin Labs Norwegian emulsified CLO. It only had 650 mg of EPA but the other ones were too expensive :( Boo and I tried some just a bit ago and we both almost tossed our cookies ;) I think I'll get the Carlson's lemon flavor as I remember it being a cleaner taste. This one was very "creamy" and oh my had a bad aftertaste!

I also wanted to ask if anyone has any good suggestions for a good multi vitamin to add to the Carlson's? I'd like to support all of Boo's nutritional needs if possible...but we are on a tight budget :(


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