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cross-post: Reading to Learn (afterschooler)

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#1 SKL


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Posted 19 October 2017 - 12:27 PM

My 11yo 6th grader has historically tested slightly above average for reading ability.  Comprehension and reading aloud are good to excellent.  However, I have always known she has difficulties with sustained reading.  She has vision problems (convergence insufficiency) which make reading a chore.  There could be other reasons also.  I'm planning to request LD testing for her soon.


So now she is being required to read more in order to succeed in school.  Specifically in the content areas.  Her memory is also not good, so she cannot fall back on remembering what she heard in class.  She just took a reading assessment at Sylvan, and they identified issues with being able to skim / scan text for information.  I see this with the homework - she doesn't know where to look for information to answer questions.  Reading the whole chapter in the evening is too overwhelming.


One suggestion I have to consider is more vision therapy during the school year.  She does not want to do it.  I kinda don't blame her.  But if it would make her work easier, it would be worth it.  I almost want to cry for her since she is so tired of extra work.


Theoretically I could read her texts aloud to her, but I don't know where I'd find the time.  And that would not solve the underlying problem.


Another thought that comes to mind is asking her to prepare written outlines of her texts, and study from those.  But, again, more time, frustration, and tears.


Does anyone have any suggestions for a kid in this situation?

#2 Lecka


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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:07 PM

I personally don't know how to do it, but text-to-speech exists, such that you could scan or photograph (?) her paper and have it read to her by text-to-speech. 


If she has diagnosed CI -- I think only vision can treat that.  My son didn't and he could do OT instead -- which is frankly a lot more kid-friendly at least in our town.  If she has CI though -- I think there is not a huge choice. 


I think to some extent -- if you know she has CI and that right now may not be the right time to work on that, you can just HELP her directly with her work.  Be like a tutor who teaches her.  You don't HAVE to facilitate her homework, you don't have to facilitate the school expectations, if the school expectations are based on her reading, taking notes, etc., that aren't things she can do right now (but you are working on it in general -- you are going to get her the vision stuff when it is a better time).  You can just help her with the content.  If you don't have time or it is not going to work well, can you find a video for her to cover the content?  Or can you find a book with pictures if that would help, that covers the content?  Finding out what units/content are coming up and pre-teaching or pre-watching an appropriate movie or video can help SO MUCH going forward.  If that is something you can ask the teacher, it can help so much, she can have more time for things to coalesce and maybe she will pick up more when there are visuals or a story (etc) instead of just reading from a textbook and listening to lectures. 


In the longterm yes you want her to be able to outline etc, but in the meantime you don't have to do that to help her with content.  And content goes a long way. 


I think go ahead with your request, and make sure it is in writing.  Make sure it is an official request, not a discussion where it is mentioned.  They don't work the same way. 


If you *know* she has CI -- I think you have got to accommodate on reading until you have had a good time to remediate that.  You can accommodate with listening (if she does retain better than way) or by supplementing with other materials. 


Another thing that I didn't do and then I did do ------- if it is At All possible, if you could take her out of school hours to do the CI stuff, it can go a long way.  It lets them not end the day late and THEN  have their things to get done.  Can you take her later in the morning, or pick her up early in the afternoon?


I asked about this for speech therapy, and my son's teacher was concerned about him missing content for social studies, said that was a good time of school for him, etc.  But doing speech therapy after school made his day so long.


Then when he did OT I took him out of school, and was a little more "I'm sorry, this is what needs to work out for my family," and it turned out to be so much better.  We had some extenuating circumstances and logistics, but for him to be able to be done at the same time as school got out, and for us to have a bit of time just the two of us then (no siblings) worked out really good for us.  If you work maybe there is someone you could ask or pay to take her, it is a thing.  There is even private bus service some places, but it is usually not known about for kids who have minor issues.  But if you asked maybe it turns out there is private bus service for kids who have more issues (and maybe can't attend regular after-school programs)..... you never know. 


#3 Heathermomster


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Posted 19 October 2017 - 02:38 PM

My DS has excellent verbal comprehension, so he still listens to audio books at a high rate of speed in spite of being remediated for dyslexia. Most computers have TTS, so you just need to learn how to use it. DS has used TTS to read back webpages, PDFs, and word documents. DD uses the Voice Dream app to listen to epubs off of Gutenberg, and he listens to kindle books using whispersync technology. Son usually increases the reading speed and adjusts the pitch. If your child has an IEP, the school may be able to get her large print and audio books to accommodate the vision.

It might help to teach her to pre-read any comprehension questions, and she may need to stop periodically while reading and jot down picture notes. Maybe check out the Claro app. For outlining, I'd look at mindmapping with Inspiration on an ipad. She can use speech to text with Inspiration.

Edited by Heathermomster, 19 October 2017 - 03:27 PM.

#4 Pen


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Posted 19 October 2017 - 06:42 PM

Sounds like she needs a thorough evaluation.  There are things you know about, but too many things you do not know. And a lot of things where multiple weaknesses make working around a particular problem difficult. Do you know what her over-all intelligence is?

#5 Pen


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Posted 19 October 2017 - 06:53 PM

Also, with a diagnosis, she may be eligible to get recorded textbooks via Bookshare and other materials that would give her audio texts, without your having to do all the reading. Though with limited working memory and trouble learning from auditory input, that may not help as much as you'd wish.  It could be that she is not capable of doing what she or you wish for her to be able to do.

#6 PeterPan


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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:47 PM

Why are you asking her opinion about vision therapy? It's a medical problem and it's not optional. She's at an age where the vision problems blow up and become huge. She's expressing an immature opinion. Vision therapy is hard work and she doesn't want to do it, doesn't feel motivated, imagine that.


I would get her an OT eval first or at least google and MAKE SURE all the retained primitive reflexes are integrated. If you did VT before and it was awful or didn't stick, that's why. So you need to get the underlying reflex problems fixed, then go back and do VT. Sometimes, when you fix the primitive, vestibular, and visual reflexes, sometimes the vision problems correct on their own. You might have more luck with a really good PT than an OT. It really just depends on whether they've done the training for this stuff. 


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