I have a son with dyslexia/dysgraphia/adhd. I don't post much here--honestly I am just really depressed about it. The school messed him up big time and we pulled him out of school last year and he's mid-way through level 4 of barton, but he hasn't taken off with reading like I had hoped. He is 9. And his younger sister now reads better than he does (she's 6). Last night she wanted to read to the family and he just deflated. I don't know what to do, how to handle this, where to go from here. He's depressed and angry most of the time. He excels in athletics and is very good at math, but its almost like he's given up caring.
I am upset that Barton isn't helping more than it is: its an expensive program and he doesn't struggle with it, but he HATES it. Its boring, and the stories are dry and boring too. He loves audiobooks but I think he needs more practice with reading if he is ever going to get it. Am I totally off base?
My ds is 8, has never been in school, and is pretty similar. I think the others are correct that it's possible to have unrealistic expectations at this point. It's sort of like wow, I paid all this money, I brought in Barton, WHY ISN'T IT ALL BETTER!!
Since my ds has never been in school, and since he has had Barton, LIPS, etc. from the beginning, I don't have the school to blame it on. My ds is becoming self-cognizant, self-aware, and he's noticing his disability. THAT is what has disheartened him. Honestly, I would stop having a sibling read aloud in front of him. Like it would be nice if he was so mature, so strong, so self-confident that that wasn't going to hurt him, but personally I would just create a new way you roll together. Like everyone reads silently and then discusses or Dad reads aloud or everyone gets assigned the passage in the morning to read on their own time and discuss as a family in the evening. There would be lots of creative ways to work around that. I'm unrealistically protective, so I would. There are enough opportunities in life to hurt that I don't have to pile on more. Or have them read verses and take turns with verses, instead of it being like the whole chapter. He could probably get through one verse at a time.
I've been trying to read with my ds in the evening, and even though he *can* read the verses he shies away. At first he was game, but then he started pulling back. It's just HARD! I mean, think about it. We take something that is very important to us (learning about God) and we connect it to a disability! We wouldn't look at a person with no legs and say the only way to get to church was to walk; we'd give them a car! But we look at our kids with dyslexia and say the ONLY way to learn about God is to READ THIS PRINT AND READ IT NOW BECAUSE I SAID SO AND READ IT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.
Kinda doesn't work, lol. If I were more organized, what I would do is use a Bible reading app, put the assigned text on a daily checklist, and just have him do that as independent work. There's no reason why it HAS to be done only one way. My problem is enforcement, facilitating. My ds, with the ADHD plus ASD, is a real pistol to organize. But my dd (only ADHD) at that age, sure, that's what I would have done. Once you stack the disabilities, you're like hmm, how do I make that happen? I have ABA workers who come in, and I can assign things. But if you can find a way to make it happen (like you use daily checklists, he works through his plan), then yes, that would be another really smart way to work around it.
I did have the learning disability talk with my ds. I had to, because he was just really getting discouraged at how hard things were. To him it was like well this is hard so let's just not do it! And with ASD, not do it literally means NOT AT ALL. So we talked about brilliant people with SLDs. Last night we watched a couple of these (really bizarre, not sure what I think of them) Percy and the Olympians movies, and Percy is open and out about his dyslexia and his FRUSTRATION over his dyslexia! There's this really cool scene where another character points out to him that his dyslexia was because he has a GIFT and that his ADHD was his SUPERPOWER! Do you realize how powerful this message is! We have to turn it like this!
So when I had the discussion with him, I used the Ben Foss thing that yes it's hard, but that he can ear read, he can eye read, that all reading is reading, and that even though it's hard and we have to work on it, he can use MORE tech even than we already do, that he can have MORE tech as he thinks of ideas and ways to use it. He has GOT to own the tech and use the tech and embrace the tech. That's my theory. Right now my ds has a kindle and access to my ipad. Now that his big sis is gone, he'll have access to an imac (for big things like Inspiration) and a pc laptop (for robotics). They need tech they can dictate into. They need tech that will do immersion reading. They need to learn to type.
I agree with you on Barton. It's very efficient. Have you done RAN/RAS drills? And have you drilled the Barton words to fluency? Level 4 is rough. Also, when your ds was diagnosed, did they do any language testing? My ds had language quirks because of his ASD, but I've been told that dyslexics in general fall behind on language (subtly, sometimes not subtly) because their peers are reading more and getting more inputs. So that means he needs to be ear reading MORE than his peers are eye reading, because he may need to do language catch-up or work hard to stay even. If he doesn't know the language, it's really hard to read with comprehension, kwim? My ds, because of his extensive ear reading, has an outrageous vocabulary, like 99th percentile, and it boosts his humble decoding level (3rd) to a really ridiculous overall reading level (5th/6th last time we tested him). That score was while in Barton 4 at the end of 1st.
So for my ds, refusing to read is not because he can't decode or not because he can't get there overall. He can in spurts. It's just it's VERY HARD. Wicked hard. So hard that he can't bring his little ASD soul to do it. Now comics go over huge! I got him 3 print books of Calvin and Hobbes, and those go over big! I've been paying him Mickey Bucks for books. I printed a file from Etsy ($5) and he earns $1 in money for disney (yeah, yeah!!!) with each book. You realize he could have earned HUNDREDS of dollars for Disney when we started this? But no, he has earned maybe, I don't know. It's low. It's just HARD.
I think the more you can work in some consistency, routine, and expectation, the better it's going to be for tackling the "it's hard" part. I have ABA tutors, and they do some partner reading. We need to do more. They don't like to because they like to shake things up. But to partner read and get through an hour a day in chunks, that would not be too much. The tutor who did fresh testing for us this summer said it's hard because of the dyslexia and that we just have to DO it. There's not going to be a way around that.
And I don't know. Like, to me, to my sensibilities, I wish it was just oh we got his reading so high that it was EASY and then he just DID it. Or we got him some highly engaging books and then he just DID it. Or we waited till his language or development kicked in and then he just DID it. And I *do* see where my ds spurts in his reading when we do language work, when we up the interest, etc. Language was DEFINITELY holding him back! And this is a kid with a 99th percentile vocabulary!
I have another ABA tutor joining, and yes I could assign more reading together. I probably will. It IS hard. However I'm not sure that I want to wham to some really high number. I'm undecided or hesitant. I think you have to look at your child, at his mind, at his soul, and see how it's going. I don't think you torture into more reading. However my ds did have some behaviors and does have some issues where it's just like oh I have to decide to sit and do this. He's super, super, super ADHD. Like he was off gymnastics a month over the holidays, and he was blowing people's minds with his energy. It's NO WONDER he's not sitting there reading, kwim? So for us, when we create some structure and routine and a cozy spot and say no we're really going to do this, that helps him contain his body and get his mind ready. And what the workers usually do is set a required time (10 minutes) and then say he can read more if he wants. That really works! He often goes over! But then HE chose to go longer, kwim? And there was no physical reward/motivator there like candy or Mickey Bucks. At that point he's continuing to read because he's engaged and enjoys it. I think variety in motivators can be good, but he can read simply by having structure and the knowledge maybe of a pleasant follow-up activity when we're done.
Did Heathermomster reply here yet? She told me privately that when her ds was in these early years (4th?) things seemed DIRE. And at the time ds was in 1st or K5 and I was like DIRE, my kid will never be DIRE! My kid is getting early intervention from awesome me with the most awesome materials so things will never seem DIRE!! And now I'm like OH MY LANDS. There are SO many pieces that come together, and it feels like some tornado hit and blew them all over and you're like Dude I have to scavenge here for a piece and there for a piece and the pieces are SHATTERED. It doesn't FEEL like it will ever come together.
I take great solace in knowing that for many kids it comes together with enough time and continued piecing. I freak out knowing that time is actually very short to do this. I thought I had a long time, and I don't. That makes it feel dire all over again.
So I'm right there with you. We have to speak truth to ourselves. With the new semester and a new/additional worker coming, I'm going to be sitting down making lists. This is something you probably do too. Like I always did with dd, but with ds it's harder. Lists of what I need to get done (foundational skill goals) but always what HE needs to be doing to make his soul flourish. And ways we can amp that to fit him even BETTER and keep him more engaged. Like one of my workers is artistic! This is really fun, because we can tie making pictures and handwriting!! I get so bogged down and basic by myself, and these bright kids get BORED. That's why I got the K'nex robotics. I need to find more ways to make sure I'm really connecting at his MIND level, not just his disability level. It's SO hard sometimes. We want it all to be synchronized, almost to hold onto them and say slow down! We have to prepare for some HUGE spreads there. My ds functions multiple, multiple grades ahead in some areas and multiple, multiple grades behind in others. That's a really hard spread!
Are you using an ipad for your Barton 4? I love the app, love it. How is the handwriting going? We've concluded it is holding us back too much. We've tried for a semester, and it's just not a functional way for him to proceed. We've all agreed as a team we're going to focus on typing. I got pneumonia and then bronchitis back to back (I kid you not) and now have another cough. I wake up in the morning and go to bed and night thinking how can we do this, how can we nurture this spread and both the strengths and the weaknesses, how can we make this more uplifting and inspiring and engaging WITH A MOVING TARGET! It's not like the kids just stay put! They grow and change. You have a good balance, and then it shifts again. You constantly feel behind. And it's your first kid, so you're constantly learning just plain about development and what's coming too.
OneStep has talked about the severe balance shift her practitioners begged her to bring in. That's hard. To go ok I see weaknesses and want to work on them, but we're going to make sure some time each day is really at their level, at their gift level, at their mind level. That's hard! And what those things are shifts (at least I find they do) and needs to be adjusted at least every semester. At least. Or maybe others are better at this? I'm not.
I agree with a developmental vision exam. If he needs reading glasses, he has convergence issues. Easy to fix in just a few months. Given the dysgraphia plus the vision, I would get an OT eval. If you can find someone who's killer with retained reflexes, that's what you're looking for. They can underly the convergence issues and make the dysgraphia worse. Sometimes it's hard, even when you know what you're looking for. I've taken my dd to at least 3 OTs, and now I've got a PT that is really stellar. You talk about cynical. At $100 an hour, you get cynical fast! But still if you find the right person there can be some improvement to be had.
RAN/RAS is easy to work on yourself, and really it made my ds' reading more fluid, more comfortable. Now he has apraxia and attitude (haha), so it's not like easy peasy. But I'm just saying RAN/RAS you can improve. It's directly correlated to stronger readers, so it's worth working on. I've posted my file links in the past and am lazy. To google search, type your terms and site:welltrainedmind.com Try searching "ohelizabeth ran/ras site:welltrainedmind.com" or "ohelizabeth dropbox site:welltrainedmind.com" and see what you find. I use google site searches all the time. Like you could read everything OneStep has to say about math, that kind of thing.