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Teaching writing skills to dyslexic 14 year old


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#1 loowit

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 03:29 PM

I am over my head at this point and not sure what to do.

 

My 14 year old has dyslexia.  He has not been officially diagnosed, but unofficially through testing.  We can't afford the thousands of dollars for the official diagnosis.  He has had his eyes checked by specialists and though he wears glasses, this is not a vision issue.  He also has executive function problems which was officially diagnosed along with developmental coordination disorder.

 

He is getting much better at reading, and his comprehension seems to be good.  But the problem I am having is with writing, any writing.  I have tried so many different things to help him but nothing seems to work.  He hates writing by hand and will only write in cursive.  If he does print it is a combination of upper and lowercase in words.  He can (mostly) write sentences, but paragraphs are still a huge challenge for him.  I let him type almost everything, but even then he is not always turning in complete sentences or real paragraphs.  He can dictate to me somewhat, but has trouble with getting this thoughts out even then.  He knows grammar rules and knows what he is supposed to do but just struggles to actually do it.  His spelling is still really bad even with remediation.

 

It is starting to affect his other subjects at this point.  He can't write answers for essay questions, short argument papers, or really anything that a high school freshman (IME) should be starting to master.

 

I am feeling like a complete failure at this point.  I have tried to get help from the local schools, but they were completely useless.  We can't afford hundreds of dollars for tutoring right now.

 

I am hoping that some of you could please give me some direction to take on this.


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#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 06:31 PM

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

FWIW, it sounds like this is not just dyslexia but dysgraphia too.  

 

 

The combination that has worked here was the following:

 

1.  Barton Reading and Spelling (which also helped with writing).  Once we got through Level 4...

 

2.  Fix-It Grammar (which also helped with writing/vocabulary) started alongside...

 

3.  IEW SWI-B and TWSS-B and after that...

 

4.  An on-line literature class that DD enjoys but also has a writing component.  The outside accountability with a really good teacher AFTER the other three things listed has helped get her moving into a more functional approach to formal writing.  We are also continuing with Fix-It.

 

 

We are talking over a period of years, in small increments, with lots of support and encouragement and me scribing quite a bit until things smoothed out.  We are still in this process but her formal writing has definitely improved.  If I had to do it all over again I would do the same thing but I would have started sooner and moved slower.  

 

Other things you might consider are speech to text software and Inspiration software (used with you helping) to help him get his thoughts organized BEFORE trying to write anything. 

 


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#3 Storygirl

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:26 PM

It sounds like dysgraphia to me, too.

 

You can google it and get a list of ways to help. We are finding that typing does make a difference but does not solve all of the problems. One of the things that helps DS is to use graphic organizers for all writing, so that he has a visual structure to help him create a topic sentence and supporting details for each paragraph.

 

He gets intervention at school. His teacher has taught him to start answering all short answer essay questions on tests by restating the question using th same words in the question but rephrased to make the beginning of his first sentence. An easy example: What is your favorite color? My favorite color is....

 

 


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#4 Storygirl

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:33 PM

What do you mean that the local schools were helpless? Are you in the US? Public schools in the US are required to test for learning disabilities, even for homeschoolers. Did you go through the evaluation process?

 

If you just called and asked what they might do to help and were given the brush off, don't give up. You have to make a formal request for evaluations in writing. Have you done that? Did they refuse to evaluate for some reason?

 

Schools in the US do not have to offer services to homeschooers (some do, some don't), but they do have to evaluate, which would give you the documentation of the LDs and some test scores that could provide valuable information for you.

 

(If you are not in the US, then these questions will not apply to you.)



#5 loowit

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 08:06 PM

What do you mean that the local schools were helpless? Are you in the US? Public schools in the US are required to test for learning disabilities, even for homeschoolers. Did you go through the evaluation process?

 

If you just called and asked what they might do to help and were given the brush off, don't give up. You have to make a formal request for evaluations in writing. Have you done that? Did they refuse to evaluate for some reason?

 

Schools in the US do not have to offer services to homeschooers (some do, some don't), but they do have to evaluate, which would give you the documentation of the LDs and some test scores that could provide valuable information for you.

 

(If you are not in the US, then these questions will not apply to you.)

 

I requested an evaluation a few years ago.  After weeks of not getting a response we finally got an appointment.  I was told that the school cannot do a diagnosis and will only offer services if he was delayed enough in an area.  He did qualify for speech therapy two days a week, which we took advantage of but the other testing they determined that he was not delayed enough to qualify for services.

 

After the initial testing, they had him come back in for a follow up evaluation saying that they needed to do a couple more tests, which was never mentioned the when the initial appointment was made.  One of the followup evaluations was an essay type question.  I was not allowed in the room for it, and afterward DS told me that the teacher and another tester basically coached him through the whole thing, so it wasn't a true test of what he could do (not do).  The teacher that did the evaluation told me that he would be in the bottom percentile for his age group but that it wasn't behind enough to require them to provide services for him.  They also told me that he could just use computers and spell check and that would be good enough.

 

After that I felt like they would not be helpful even if I pushed the issue.  I don't have the time or money to fight the system even if I have legal rights.  And even if I did fight it I doubt he would really get the help that he needs.  I have friends who have children in this school district that are special needs and they pulled them because of the lack of services.  Even if you have legal rights, unless you have a good lawyer or luck into a good school, it doesn't do a lot of good and the schools know it.

 

I am feeling very jaded about the whole thing at the moment.  I feel like it is very hard to get a diagnosis for dyslexia, at least in my area, which makes me angry.  The doctors say it is an education problem and to talk to the school.  The school says it is a medical problem talk to his doctor.  They just keep playing pass the buck and kids suffer from it.  We did pay out of pocket for an evaluation from a clinic about an hour from home, but it was only for our information and to see what tutoring they could provide.  We couldn't afford the cost of their tutoring and insurance doesn't cover it.  The clinic did offer a referral for a formal diagnosis but warned us that it was be a couple thousand dollars.



#6 exercise_guru

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 12:58 AM

Just to clarify do you homeschool?

 

It would be helpful if you can share what method he is learning from. Most importantly is his cursive legible? If so I say leave it be. My son could not write with cursive or print. It popped all over the place and was a total mess.  He is a bit younger but still heading toward these challenges. We are doing public school with heavy help at home but eventually it is likely to turn back to homeschooling. 

 

BTW  Big hugs to you mamma because I found something simliar with dysgraphia and even with diagnosed CAPD. My son didn't even qualify for speach I have to do that privately.  The school agreed to an FM system and preferential seeting and a mechanical pencil and special erasable pen.  Its all on me either way which at times can be overwhelming. 

 

I have found typing and then editing is a huge help. I also love those daily paragraph editing books because they help my son to see the errors in someone else's works and he doesn't take it personal.  It also helps him to learn to generalize the rules to his own work which is good for executive functioning. We are going to work all summer on building paragraphs and understanding sentence structure. I am trying to let him attend public school with strong support at home.  PeterPan recomended Scholastic Success with Writing. I am looking at trying that. I think building experience is the most important pursuit. Let him scribe to you and write exactly what he says. Then have him go back and edit it. This is how my son does his prewriting. 

 

I also try to have brainstorming sessions where we just think through and get ideas out and then try to get them into paragraphs over several days. He has read about a subject and we work on getting them into an idea. 

 

 

I haven't used livescribe but I have heard raves about it from many parents who have college students with writing challenges. I was finally able to get my son to write legible with Getty and Dubay. It is an italic print that converts to a very legible cursive. Simple lines and natural shape of the hand.  I also got my son a tracing light board off of amazon. He practices art with it and that has really improved his motor control. How is your sons motor control with legos? Tweezers etc? 

 

How cooperative is your son? How are math and other subjects because it helps to figure out where to put the most energy.

There are other top down aspects such as retained reflexes, and Auditory processing and comprehension that factor in. How is he at conversing on a subject he has read about or watched a movie on? Writing a paragraph is the combination of many many skills converging. That is what makes it very challenging to plan interventions. 


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#7 Storygirl

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 01:19 AM

I'll try to respond more soon, but we have a guest and a family birthday this weekend, so it may be awhile before I get back to this thread.

 

In the meantime, I'm sorry you found the school evaluations unhelpful. They actually may have been following the law, even though you found it frustrating. Federal law gives the school 30 days to respond to a request, so a few weeks may be in the normal timeframe. And schools are not required to diagnose. And they are not required to offer services, unless your state or school district has local policies that provide more than the federal law.

 

What the school should do is run enough tests to determine if there is a learning disability, which they will call Specific Learning Disability in Reading (instead of dyslexia) or SLD written expression (instead of dysgraphia). And you should have gotten a copy of all of the scoring from the tests. Those things can be helpful, even though the school will not do the same kind of diagnosing that a private educational psych or neuropsych would do. They should have run the WISC or something like it, for example, to give you all the subset scores for the IQ testing. And they should have run an achievement test such as Woodcock Johnson. Those scores can be really informative. Did they say there are learning disabilities present?

 

 


Edited by Storygirl, 30 December 2017 - 01:20 AM.

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#8 Storygirl

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 01:30 AM

It sounds like you would really like to be able to have more testing done, but that it is out of your budget. I am really sorry about that. I have found knowing the actual diagnoses for my kids to be really helpful to me, so I understand that desire on your part. I just wanted to acknowledge that I understand that frustration.

 

The good thing is that you can find ways to help, anyway, and I hope you are able to get some more ideas. If you have not researched dysgraphia yet, I think you will be able to find lists of things that you can try for providing writing supports. My dysgraphic kids are enrolled in school now, so I'm not their main teacher any more, but I'll try to share some more ideas when I have time.


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#9 scoutingmom

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 02:58 AM

I am over my head at this point and not sure what to do.

My 14 year old has dyslexia. He has not been officially diagnosed, but unofficially through testing. We can't afford the thousands of dollars for the official diagnosis. He has had his eyes checked by specialists and though he wears glasses, this is not a vision issue. He also has executive function problems which was officially diagnosed along with developmental coordination disorder.

He is getting much better at reading, and his comprehension seems to be good. But the problem I am having is with writing, any writing. I have tried so many different things to help him but nothing seems to work. He hates writing by hand and will only write in cursive. If he does print it is a combination of upper and lowercase in words. He can (mostly) write sentences, but paragraphs are still a huge challenge for him. I let him type almost everything, but even then he is not always turning in complete sentences or real paragraphs. He can dictate to me somewhat, but has trouble with getting this thoughts out even then. He knows grammar rules and knows what he is supposed to do but just struggles to actually do it. His spelling is still really bad even with remediation.

It is starting to affect his other subjects at this point. He can't write answers for essay questions, short argument papers, or really anything that a high school freshman (IME) should be starting to master.

I am feeling like a complete failure at this point. I have tried to get help from the local schools, but they were completely useless. We can't afford hundreds of dollars for tutoring right now.

I am hoping that some of you could please give me some direction to take on this.

I am in pretty much the same position with my son.

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#10 KathyBC

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 12:01 PM

I am over my head at this point and not sure what to do.

 

My 14 year old has dyslexia.  He has not been officially diagnosed, but unofficially through testing.  We can't afford the thousands of dollars for the official diagnosis.  He has had his eyes checked by specialists and though he wears glasses, this is not a vision issue.  He also has executive function problems which was officially diagnosed along with developmental coordination disorder.

 

He is getting much better at reading, and his comprehension seems to be good.  But the problem I am having is with writing, any writing.  I have tried so many different things to help him but nothing seems to work.  He hates writing by hand and will only write in cursive.  If he does print it is a combination of upper and lowercase in words.  He can (mostly) write sentences, but paragraphs are still a huge challenge for him.  I let him type almost everything, but even then he is not always turning in complete sentences or real paragraphs.  He can dictate to me somewhat, but has trouble with getting this thoughts out even then.  He knows grammar rules and knows what he is supposed to do but just struggles to actually do it.  His spelling is still really bad even with remediation.

 

It is starting to affect his other subjects at this point.  He can't write answers for essay questions, short argument papers, or really anything that a high school freshman (IME) should be starting to master.

 

I am feeling like a complete failure at this point.  I have tried to get help from the local schools, but they were completely useless.  We can't afford hundreds of dollars for tutoring right now.

 

I am hoping that some of you could please give me some direction to take on this.

Sounds like you are doing a good job of teasing all the pieces apart and gearing up for the next steps. You have a clear idea where you want to go, the timeline is what it is, where he actually is at must be the starting point.

 

When he types, is his spelling close enough that spell check gives him the correct answer? If so, I would be tempted to address other areas first.

If it were me.... well, I might try to outsource an online course if I could afford it, something through Bravewriter ideally, where the primary goal is generating ideas.
Then at home I would continue to work on developing those motor skills. I know you've used many things and nothing here may apply, but I'll throw it out there anyway.
Here's what helped us:
Freewrites - no points off for spelling, grammar, the whole point is just to write for a set time, make writing as positive as possible, get everyone on the same team.
IEW - breaking the process down into short chunks every day, producing one good paragraph a week is progress. We did this four days a week, then Freewrites on Fridays.

I know there is only so much time in the day, so the online course might have to suffice for writing during those weeks.

 

There are a few other programs that have good reports. Wordsmith Apprentice - low output, practical application (I hesitate to add this one as we did it at about grade 5-6 level, but you could check it out, see if it fits?) I haven't used these ones, but they might fit your situation: Killgallon's Sentence Composing and Killgallon's Paragraph Composing; also Four Square Writing Method which builds around a graphic organizer.

 

For his other subjects, that leaves you still functioning as his Teaching Assistant and scribing or directing the process to get work done. Unlike at least some public schools, however, you will also be targeting his individual writing skills at another time so that ideally he achieves a level of independence.

Pursuing that actual SLD written expression label may be helpful for post-secondary education. Hopefully someone here who is more knowledgeable can address that.


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#11 summerreading

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 12:05 PM

Exactly the same here, 14 yo, dyslexic, dysgraphic, plus executive functioning issues and trying to afford the eval so he can get accommodations on college board tests. 

Just letting you know you're not a failure, it's a struggle!

 

I think that getting it officially on paper is the best thing, but I completely understand the anxiety that comes with trying to afford it if insurance won't. 

 

What helps here so far: keyboarding, remediating spelling and that is the only time he uses handwriting. He uses a fountain pen and this forces him to use the correct grip and amount of pressure. 

I plan to read Smart but Scattered Teens for help getting him organized.

 

Maybe try IEW and let him type his work - we are using level C here.

 

ETA:

 

 

Speech to text would be good for him, Dragon Naturally or even just dictating into Google Docs. 


Edited by summerreading, 30 December 2017 - 12:16 PM.

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#12 loowit

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 02:11 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions.  We do homeschool, and have since kindergarten.  He went to a private preschool, but it was mostly play based a couple mornings a week.  I wanted to send him the the private school attached to the preschool, but it was too expensive.

 

I started him out with Abeka, which is what I used with my oldest and worked great for her.  They have a really strong (IMO) phonics program, and I really like their language arts for the younger grades.  But it didn't work as well for DS.  For spelling I switched to Apples and Pears and we worked through all of the books.  His spelling is improved from what it had been, but still not great.  It is not one of my main focuses at this point, as I think that spell check will be more useful to him now and I think his other deficits are more urgent to address.

 

At the suggestion of one of the testers we saw we did Handwriting without Tears with him to help with his writing.  His handwriting is still poor, and while I can decipher it, others can't read it.  He cries when I make him do any actual handwriting beyond just a few words.  Most of the handwriting I am having him do writing now is Greek, so all of his other subjects are done on computer.

 

For grammar/language arts I have used Abeka, Easy Grammar, Junior English, So You Really Want to Learn English, Writing Strands, and Jump In.  I have also tried using outlines of how to write a paragraph and essays that were suggested by several people.  This year I am using MFW high school Ancients.  I am having to do most of the reading to him, though I suppose I could look into audiobooks for some of it.  But the writing is way over his head, so I am trying to break it down into easier pieces for him.  He did amazingly well with a modernized version of Gilgamesh and The Cat of Bubastes.  But he has the Iliad and the Odyssey coming up, and I am sure that those will be a huge struggle.

 

If it were just him at home I think I could do it more successfully, but I also have two others here to teach.  My youngest has special needs also and takes up a lot of my time.  My oldest has been pretty self-sufficient until this year.  She has taken on some really tough courses and it is taking a lot more of my time to help her with her studies too.  I just don't have enough time in the day to teach all of them to the level that I really want.  Sadly middle son has been the one who often gets the short stick in that area, because he is a quiet, go with the flow kid, who doesn't let me know that he is struggling with things.

 

An outside course for writing sounds great.  But I am not sure where I would start looking or if the cost is doable.  He is very resistant to writing or dictating right now.  He struggles to get his ideas out and gets frustrated with himself.  He is good at giving me a synopsis of stories, movies, etc., and his comprehension is good, but he often has trouble forming his thoughts when it comes to actually putting them down on "paper".  We have dictating software on his computer, but he doesn't seem to keen on using it.

 

I will definitely been looking into the suggestions you all have given me and trying to form a plan.  Thanks again.


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#13 KathyBC

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 03:02 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions.  We do homeschool, and have since kindergarten.  He went to a private preschool, but it was mostly play based a couple mornings a week.  I wanted to send him the the private school attached to the preschool, but it was too expensive.

 

I started him out with Abeka, which is what I used with my oldest and worked great for her.  They have a really strong (IMO) phonics program, and I really like their language arts for the younger grades.  But it didn't work as well for DS.  For spelling I switched to Apples and Pears and we worked through all of the books.  His spelling is improved from what it had been, but still not great.  It is not one of my main focuses at this point, as I think that spell check will be more useful to him now and I think his other deficits are more urgent to address.

 

At the suggestion of one of the testers we saw we did Handwriting without Tears with him to help with his writing.  His handwriting is still poor, and while I can decipher it, others can't read it.  He cries when I make him do any actual handwriting beyond just a few words.  Most of the handwriting I am having him do writing now is Greek, so all of his other subjects are done on computer.

 

For grammar/language arts I have used Abeka, Easy Grammar, Junior English, So You Really Want to Learn English, Writing Strands, and Jump In.  I have also tried using outlines of how to write a paragraph and essays that were suggested by several people.  This year I am using MFW high school Ancients.  I am having to do most of the reading to him, though I suppose I could look into audiobooks for some of it.  But the writing is way over his head, so I am trying to break it down into easier pieces for him.  He did amazingly well with a modernized version of Gilgamesh and The Cat of Bubastes.  But he has the Iliad and the Odyssey coming up, and I am sure that those will be a huge struggle.

 

If it were just him at home I think I could do it more successfully, but I also have two others here to teach.  My youngest has special needs also and takes up a lot of my time.  My oldest has been pretty self-sufficient until this year.  She has taken on some really tough courses and it is taking a lot more of my time to help her with her studies too.  I just don't have enough time in the day to teach all of them to the level that I really want.  Sadly middle son has been the one who often gets the short stick in that area, because he is a quiet, go with the flow kid, who doesn't let me know that he is struggling with things.

 

An outside course for writing sounds great.  But I am not sure where I would start looking or if the cost is doable.  He is very resistant to writing or dictating right now.  He struggles to get his ideas out and gets frustrated with himself.  He is good at giving me a synopsis of stories, movies, etc., and his comprehension is good, but he often has trouble forming his thoughts when it comes to actually putting them down on "paper".  We have dictating software on his computer, but he doesn't seem to keen on using it.

 

I will definitely been looking into the suggestions you all have given me and trying to form a plan.  Thanks again.

Can you group the younger two together for writing instruction? I did the IEW/Freewrite schedule I mentioned above with my younger two.

 

IEW has an Ancient History-based writing book that I used with both my boys. It might be a way to break the writing down into easier pieces for you.
 


Edited by KathyBC, 30 December 2017 - 03:04 PM.

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#14 Lecka

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 03:09 PM

https://orton-gillin.../products/2071/

A couple of years ago someone had used the Diana Hanbury King writing program. It says it's for dyslexia.

Another suggestion is to use graphic organizers for rough drafts.

Edited by Lecka, 30 December 2017 - 03:10 PM.

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#15 Storygirl

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 03:14 PM

I did MFW Ancients with my oldest two years ago. I agree that it is difficult. The writing instruction gives some good ideas but was not sufficient for DD, who does not have LDs but has weaker writing skills. I had to sit with her for the assignments, help her form ideas, make outlines, turn her thoughts into sentences, and edit her work. It was tedious!

 

I really think you should use the writing assignments as guides for ideas and make up your own assignments. If he has trouble writing paragraphs, those essays are going to be beyond his ability. Maybe have him practice paragraphs instead. Write a question for him to answer in paragraph form and give him a graphic organizer to fill in to help him come up with his topic sentence and supporting details. Simple graphic organizers have been a HUGE help for my dysgraphic son. I realize this means you have recraft the curriculum, but the reality is that it is probably necessary.

 

Here is another idea. Drop those essays altogether, and have him work on writing from the Notgrass history textbook instead. You could do something like this: DD12 attends a private school for dyslexia. One of the things they work on for writing is to read an article. For each section of the article (each paragraph or each subheading), she has to write down three to five pieces of information that she learned, in complete sentences. Because your son can summarize orally, this technique would be a way for him to practice getting one idea at a time down onto paper. Then you could work on putting those sentences into a paragraph.

 

The idea is that he needs to be working on the writing skills, but he does not HAVE to be writing about literature. He can write about history instead. Sometimes it is hard to come up with the ideas for writing about literature, and by switching the writing assignments to the history text instead, you can remove that roadblock.

 

You could still have him write about the lit selections periodically, but have him write just one paragraph or short answer, instead of an essay ( as I mentioned above).

 

Also, The Iliad is a beast. I read it outloud with DD, and it was repetitive (lots and lots of long, heavy descriptions of battles that all blend together) and tedious. Read a children's version instead or an abbreviated version. Really.

 

Or skip it. Just skip it. Move onto the Odyssey, which is more fun and episodic. Even for that, I'd read an abridged version instead of what comes with MFW. To be honest, by the time we were done with The Iliad, we were burned out on Homer, and we skipped the Odyssey.

 

I hate to say it, but I wouldn't pick that curriculum for a kid with dyslexia and dysgraphia. I think that you should consider modifying it heavily or ditching it and going with something else instead. In addition to the suggestions of IEW from others, I think you could look at Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King. Start with level 1. I think you would still need to modify -- add more editing, have him plan his work on graphic organizers intead of in the workbook. But it is an incremental and not overwhelming program that works through the writing process. We liked it.


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#16 VinNY

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 07:40 PM

My daughter has a written expression diagnosis as well as language impairment. We used Diana Hansbury Kings Writing Skills Series during the Middle School years. In addition ..can I suggest REWARDS Secondary..it will help with reading skills as well as there is a writing component with the reading comprehension questions. It was a great skill builder we used over this past summer (she is 16).

 

My daughter was given an assistive technology evaluation. We have her doing her lengthy responses on the chrome book. Her programs give her graphic organizers, word prediction, spell check and grammar helps. This years and next years goal is for her to consistently use the text to speech feature so she doesn't rely on me to read and help her edit. When she reads  what she writes..it sound fine to her. When I read it aloud...she catches the grammatical error/syntax issues etc. When the computer reads it to her ..she also can catch some errors..so for independence purposes..I am getting her to work on that.

 

My friend's son is very severe with his dysgraphia..he does all his writing on the computer..he is being taught how to scan forms etc. These are the skills he should be learning ...how to accommodate his disability and be able to communicate or complete forms etc.

 

I would strongly urge you to get your child evaluated through insurance..a local State University ..anywhere to get him diagnosed within the next year or so..for testing accommodations.

 

 



#17 PeterPan

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 10:58 PM

Think, Talk, Laugh!: Increase Verbal Processing Speed and Language Organization Skills

 

You can see if your insurance will cover an SLP eval and see how much you can get done through that. Around here, we have SLPs who will test language (CELF or CASL), run the TONL (Test of Narrative Language), etc. They should be able to test word retrieval. IF you can make evals, I would get some evals done. Around here the SLPs will be $80-100 an hour where neuropsychs are $250/hr. Given his DCD diagnosis and probable SLDs, you want a neuropsych or someone similar. Clinical psych (2 hours, just WISC and achievement and an ADHD screening tool) won't be worth it. 

 

So the SLP would be a way to work around this by getting you the language testing and letting you figure out an actionable path. The book I listed is not the only way, but it's a way to work on this stuff. He sounds like he has some significant language issues. With my ds, who is also complex, I find that each thing I do gives us a boost, making something else go better. So whether it's sequencing or word retrieval or RAN/RAS or working memory, or whatever, each thing you find to work on will give him more tools, more strengths to carry the weight of his weaknesses. That will be your best bet, intense efforts in areas you can identify.

 

There are tests that quantify word retrieval. The book I linked has some activities by also DeGaetano has some great stuff. There's a good book your library might have called "It's On the Tip of My Tongue" I think. There are supports you can give for it, like providing a page with the vocabulary (priming the pump so to speak), giving time, working together and then letting him finish separately, etc.

 

Now is a nice time to grade adjust. I'm not saying you have to, just that you could. It's pretty common to pull up credits from 8th, so you could rebadge this year.

 

He's likely to have a growth spurt in the next two years, which will help things come together. What tools/skills does he have right now? Does he have tools/skills he uses in his lego stuff that he's not using in academics? 

 

Has he been screened for ADHD? If he's fatigued and has ADHD and a low processing speed, and some point what looks like non-compliance or failure is actually needing a lot more time. Some people are just WICKED SLOW compared to their brains.



#18 PeterPan

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 11:09 PM

Yes, I'm using Scholastic's Success with Writing and Success with Grammar workbooks with my ds. He has autism in addition to his SLDs, and for him the slow, spiraling instruction is really just about right. And I'm using it multiple grades behind. Writing Skills, that someone mentioned, is a really standard series. I have a couple of the books I think. Given what you're describing, I think you're going to want to look for things that address the language deficits and don't treat it as exclusively an EF problem. It would definitely be appropriate to have multiple strands to your approach. An SLP might be able to take a more streamlined approach and bring it to life and fill in his gaps, but for you to pick it up and go you need that written out for you.

 

If he can't get it out orally, it's no shock that he can't get it out with written or by dictation. You're going to want to back up and figure out how to get the expressive language working better. That's your SLP. It might not be a curriculum problem.



#19 PeterPan

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 11:13 PM

If you went through the ps for evals, did not get adequate explanations, and still have things unresolved, you are legally able to go through the DISPUTE process and compel them to pay for private evals. It's going nuclear, but it would be your legal way to get the access you need. At this point it's just kind of astonishingly bad that they didn't do more for you. If he has a DCD diagnosis, more is going on. 



#20 exercise_guru

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 01:36 AM

Lots of very good ideas . I will post more later and truly I am not trying to trigger anyone but I wish that the therapist would not recomend HWT. My son did this through 2nd grade and also with an OT. It is so ball and stick that there is no fluid motion.it is not a natural angle of lettering. It made his handwriting barely legible (being very generous with legible) and he would fatigue very quickly. I reached out in desperation to an outstanding handwriting specialist. She had so many good suggestions.

Hang a chalkboard or a white board at home on the wall. If so do your spelling work on that.

Look up whole shoulder writing as that is huge and with practace really helps the upper body. Even just doing shapes and swirls on the wall board.

she sent me a link to large mechanical pencils 1.3 pt and those instantly improved legibility. If I home schooled I would use the friction pens or something smooth and have my son just draw a line through errors.

Anyway she turned me on to Getty and Dubay. It is highly legible and very easy on the hand and mechanical action. I wish more children with disabilities qerw taught this. She told me to make sure the work surface was ergonomic. I tried a drafting table I found on Craigslist to put thing's at an angle. I tried once again to fix the grip paying attention to rotating the paper and using the helper hand.

We also did vision therapy during this but after 3 months my sons could produce very legible print. This is after everything else had failed. Getty & Dubay has an awesome cursive because you just join up the print in a smooth motion. Maybe someday but for now I am happy.

I get that your son is 14. If your son can write cursive just use wide paper and have him skip a line. Have him turn the paper and use his helper hand all that will help without changing what he already knows.

I also tried Google Talk to text but my son has some pronunciation issues so that bombed.

Here us our writing method for my sons school papers.

My son has different challenges but I can share what we are doing. I am learning constantly and posting for help.you will see my threads. I am learning a lot from this thread.

I call it FRONTLOADING its basically prewriting_preteaching.


My goal now is to get stuff on paper anyway I can and even if it's unorganized. Then work to build confidence and gel it together through editing. We revise on the computer and practace reading it outloud to see if it makes sence.

I also have found that because of my sons capd he gets overwhelmed at the beginning of a new writing paragraph so we do a lot of prewriting with me scribing ideas and mind maps or whatever you have found works. Basically a lot of brainstorming together coming up with basic paragraph elements or storyboard type sequences. I try to keep this part very positive. It might be a week for something as simple as a 1 page fairy tale.

Once the big idea is established with charachters and plot elements we move forword.

Then the next we might talk about a good topic sentence and then talk about what the next sentences should cover . I scribe again

Then the next day or once he has the full concept I have my son dictate the story to me using the notes we made. I dictate it without changing Grammer, most punctuation and most spelling then I pass it to my son as a rough draft. It might take us a few days just for him to dictate it because he is forming the ideas.

With the rough draft he works through it and since he isn't stuck in the mud can come up with some good quality sentences. It's till below grade level and we are working on it but we are progressing.


I hope over time to build confidence and skill so this process becomes his alone but we are still working on that.

Edited by exercise_guru, 31 December 2017 - 01:44 AM.


#21 geodob

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 08:01 AM

Graphic organisers have been suggested.

A particular one that he could try, is Kidspiration.    Which was designed for elementary kids, but is used by many adults.

It can be downloaded for a free 30 day trial, to see if it suits him.  But it cost less than $50.

 

Though a most important part of it, are the Tutorials.   As they teach one how to use it.

While their are many free graphic organizers around. 

What they don't have, is a good explanation of how to use them. 

Which is a major value of Kidspiration.

 

Here's a link to it:

http://www.inspirati...om/Kidspiration


Edited by geodob, 31 December 2017 - 08:01 AM.


#22 PeterPan

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 09:16 AM

The teen and up version is Inspiration. I'm getting ready to start Kidspiration with my 9 yo with delays/autism. An average IQ teen would do Inspiration.

At 14, any handwriting work is because they want it. My dd hand writes almost nothing. MOVE ON. Give tech and work on the praxis of speech and word retrieval issues.

We did make a final push at 14 with my dd to have a legible signature. That is worth something. We worked on each letter to make combininations of manuscript and cursive she could write comfortably and consistently. A signature is worth that effort.

Edited by PeterPan, 31 December 2017 - 09:17 AM.


#23 exercise_guru

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 07:52 PM

The teen and up version is Inspiration. I'm getting ready to start Kidspiration with my 9 yo with delays/autism. An average IQ teen would do Inspiration.

At 14, any handwriting work is because they want it. My dd hand writes almost nothing. MOVE ON. Give tech and work on the praxis of speech and word retrieval issues.

We did make a final push at 14 with my dd to have a legible signature. That is worth something. We worked on each letter to make combininations of manuscript and cursive she could write comfortably and consistently. A signature is worth that effort.

Any suggestions for a good organizer that works with android? Both of.my kiddos would very much benefit from using their pads this way.

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#24 exercise_guru

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 08:00 PM

Also I agree I would.focus on essential.skills

Counting money and managing a checking account earning allowance

Filling out forms and personal signature

Daily management etc



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#25 PeterPan

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 12:22 AM

Just google mindmapping and see what you find. I used Popplet with my dd before we moved over. But really, Inspiration is AWESOME. It's $$, but it's a really powerful tool. You can make complex maps with text, images, etc., then you hit a button and TOGGLE over to an outline version. Literally it turns your mind map into an outline! Then you can toggle back and forth, edit, create balance, and then hit shazam and go into word processor mode to expand the outline. SO much potential!!

 

It made organized writing click for my dd. If you've ever edited your dc's papers and gone oh my lands those thoughts just don't flow, that sentence didn't belong in here, that sentence should have been in a different paragraph, etc., you can solve that with Inspiration. If your dc's thoughts and analysis are MORE COMPLEX than typical essays, again, starting with the map can let them get that out and see the order and relationships to turn their thoughts into something that makes sense for other people. If your dc loses their thoughts because they have so many, again, it solves that. If they need help for the EF but need time and quiet to process, it solves that. (do the map together, let them write from their outline later, alone)

 

You're going to want a somewhat bigger screen. If you have access to an ipad pro, that could be stellar. Imac is great with the bigger screen. You can do HUGE projects and papers in this software. You'll love it.



#26 Pen

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 07:54 PM

1)  He cries when I make him do any actual handwriting beyond just a few words. 

 

2) Most of the handwriting I am having him do writing now is Greek, so all of his other subjects are done on computer.

 

3) For grammar/language arts I have used Abeka, Easy Grammar, Junior English, So You Really Want to Learn English, Writing Strands, and Jump In.  I have also tried using outlines of how to write a paragraph and essays that were suggested by several people.  

 

4) But he has the Iliad and the Odyssey coming up, and I am sure that those will be a huge struggle.

 

 

5) An outside course for writing sounds great.  But I am not sure where I would start looking or if the cost is doable.  He is very resistant to writing or dictating right now.  He struggles to get his ideas out and gets frustrated with himself. 

 

6) He is good at giving me a synopsis of stories, movies, etc., and his comprehension is good, but he often has trouble forming his thoughts when it comes to actually putting them down on "paper".  We have dictating software on his computer, but he doesn't seem to keen on using it.

 

 

 

 

1) Why does he cry? Pain? Frustration?

 

2) I'm wondering if Greek makes a lot of sense for someone who is struggling with English?  For writing on computer, a system that separated getting some ideas down, more ideas, more ideas, ...   and only later working on structuring (sentences and paragraphs...) and mechanics (spelling, punctuation, grammar...)  might help.

 

3) Which program works the best for him and why/ which worst and why?  As with the reasons that writing makes him cry, I think it would help to analyze the details of what is working and what not.

 

4) Skip Iliad. It's likely to cause more tears. i suggest Odyssey in very modern translation and very abridged.

 

5) Bravewriter might help if you could afford it.  Some classes allow multiple siblings for cost of one, possibly.  You could call them and ask what might work for the one child or the whole group.  If you do it, do it when you can make it the main focus of homeschool for the length of the class in order to make it effective.

 

6) Could you audio record him giving you an oral synopsis of some movie or book or event he has liked, and use that as a basis to start writing from?


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#27 Storygirl

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 08:20 PM

I agree with Pen that learning a foreign language is more difficult for students with dyslexia and other language disorders. The dyslexia school that DD12 attends does not teach foreign languages. The public high school that DD13 with other reading troubles will attend said that foreign language was not required or even recommended.

 

Can he drop Greek and use that mental energy for his other schoolwork?


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#28 Heathermomster

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:21 AM

Handwriting causing tears?  That's not good.  I strongly recommend that your DS work with a ped PT that specializes in DCD.  These people exist, but you are going to need to call and/or ask around for one.  Weight training, bilateral coordination, core, and balance work made a noticeable difference with my teenaged DS.  Exercise strengthens connectivity within the brain and provides an attention boost for the hour or so following the exercise.

 

Dr. Haynes gave an excellent webinar about writing and dyslexia, and I strongly recommend that you view it.  

 

 

 

 


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