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In the Bight

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About In the Bight

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    Hive Mind Larvae
  1. He's the 3rd of 5 kids - 3 are in public school and our youngest starts in September. I really do appreciate your advice and sharing your family's experience. Without getting into too much detail, my son's behaviour at school became unmanageable this year, which led to him attending part-time and now homeschooling. His behaviour at home has never reached that level and he responds much better to me, my husband, and my husband's parents than to other adults, but I do fear this will change now that we're homeschooling and I'm asking more of him. I'm also very, very worried about how our relationships will change as he gets older, which is one of the many reasons homeschooling isn't a long-term solution for us. Right now, he and I have a close relationship and he understands that I'm on his team, so I'm trying hard to maintain that. Mixing fun things in has been tricky, because the school-related things I thought would be fun (science experiments and math games) felt like work to him. We'll still do them, but now that I know they're "work" I think the only thing we can consider "fun" is physical activity.
  2. Thanks! He's adjusted really well to being home full-time, we both feel good about how his other subjects are going, and we have lots of material to fill out the rest of this year in math, science, health, etc. In that context, I'm okay with not hitting everything in language arts and focusing on a few areas that seem most important. I had him write thank you notes to his teachers this morning and I'll try other little bits of fun/relaxed writing with him so he hopefully won't be too resistant when we start a writing program. He's enjoying the novel we're reading and is asking lots of good questions about the Holocaust and WWII, so a trip the library is on the agenda for tomorrow. We're also reading some non-fiction readers that go with our current science unit, but are technically part of the Grade 4 Language Arts curriculum, so I'm counting them.
  3. Magic Treehouse is about the right level for him to read out loud, but Rick Riordan would be too hard for him now even silently. Or at least too intimidating for him to try. I had been planning to do the same thing you did and hold off on reading certain books out loud, but it didn’t feel right when his siblings started reading those books so easily. He started learning cursive last year at school, but they dropped it with him pretty quickly to prioritize other things. I'm going to take him through a couple of the Handwriting Without Tears printing books and then see if he’s interested in learning cursive. It’s not required after 3rd grade in our schools, so if he doesn’t want to learn I won’t push it. As an update - I spoke to Susan Barton and the SLP this week and have a tentative plan to finish out this year. Further advice or recommendations are very welcome, even things to look into or come back to next year. Our school year ends on June 28 and I’ve already warned all my kids to expect one hour of school work per day in July. Shopping for “enrichment” materials for the other kids is a nice break. Susan Barton was very kind and answered a bunch of questions I had. She couldn't say for sure that he needed a program as intensive as Barton, but she was sure it would help him. Susan recommended that we skip Foundations in Sound and start Barton Level 1. She said it would be okay for us to do it in shorter sessions, aiming for two 20-minute sessions per day. The SLP is available to assess him in August. She strongly encouraged us to bring him then, and said it would be very important to test his social language before the psych assessment in October. She’s also able to test his reading and processing skills at that time. I asked what she would recommend we do for now about reading and mentioned that I had been looking at Barton. She said to go ahead with Barton Level 1, but all the Barton levels probably won’t be necessary and she’ll know when she tests him. So, we’ll start Handwriting Without Tears tomorrow (it arrived today and looks perfect) and Barton Level 1 when it gets here. My son asked me to read the book Milkweed to him, so I found a study guide online and will use it to help guide our discussion and gauge his comprehension. Thanks everyone for your help! I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions and am so glad I found a group of such knowledgeable and thoughtful mentors!
  4. I'm not sure what words you mean? Three of his four mistakes were repeating the sounds back in the first place. Like for /o/ /a/ /u/, he said "/o/ /u/ ... /u/ was last. I forget the rest". For /i/ /e/ /i/, he pulled down three different colours, then realized he'd made a mistake somewhere when he started to "touch and say". After he got it right on the second try, he said it was the hardest one and most of the others were really easy. I asked what other sounds were hard and he said /o/ and /u/. He does have severe ADHD and started medication in kindergarten. This is all good stuff, I'm just going to have to think about how to try some new things without messing up what's going well! I don't ask him to read anything on his own, but he does read aloud to someone for 20 minutes/day. It took a long time to build up to that, so I think we'll keep that routine until we have something concrete to replace it with. I'll start reading another novel to him in the next couple days. It probably makes sense to back up to something easier than Number the Stars so he and I can both practice the kind of discussion you're talking about, but maybe it makes sense to back way up and share the reading. I CC'd the school psych on my email to the school SLP, and he let me know that she's out this week and doesn't have a CTOPP. He's not sure about other language testing, so I'll have to wait on that. Also still waiting on the other SLP. The school psych recommended the Phonological Awareness Screening Test and sent it to me in PDF. So my kid is going to be very sick of testing very soon. 😄
  5. I'm just referring to books he reads out loud. He does read some books listed as having even higher reading levels silently to himself, but they're always full of pictures and often books he's read before, so it's hard to know how much he's really reading. I know he does find it easier and faster to read silently - when he brought home comprehension worksheets, we negotiated reading some aloud and some silently because there was such a big difference for him. I haven't really encouraged silent reading, because I think he can still use so much practice reading aloud. Thanks, I will have to check in with the teacher to find out. I gave him the Barton screening today and he passed all the sections. He didn't have any errors on Part A or B, but had to repeat four in Part C before he got them right on the second try. The ones he missed were all vowel sounds and he said they were harder. On the tests that ElizabethB linked, he scored a 2.3 on the grade level test and slowed down 21% on the MWIA 3. On the nonsense word test, he read 9/25 correctly the first time. When I slowed him down and got him to sound one out at a time, he figured out 17/25.
  6. I'm totally okay with being flooded with ideas! I keep lists, and don't mind having things to come back to later on. For MCT, I was thinking of trying it with him in the fall, or possibly getting it this summer and having my older kids try it, rather than jumping in now. I'm going to get him started with Handwriting Without Tears and hold off on any other writing, spelling, grammar, etc. until I get reading sorted out. When I look at the difference in reading levels, my first thought is that he's more relaxed and focused at home, versus reading in front of peers or in a testing situation at school. Probably even a bigger difference is that he chooses books for himself at home or I choose books that he'll like, whereas at school he was given books to read that could be on any topic. I'm sure he's much more motivated by the books he chooses about baseball or pokemon or that he knows his big brother recommended, and he's so familiar with the topics and vocabulary that it has to be easier. When you say his read aloud level, do you mean the level of books that he can understand when someone reads aloud to him? That probably sounds like a silly question, but I'm just wondering if there's more to it. He understands when age-appropriate books are read aloud and we discuss them, but I haven't asked him all the types of questions that are in the F & P comprehension guide. We just finished Number the Stars because his teacher had been reading it aloud in school, and I'm wondering if there's a specific reading level I should choose for our next book. Oh, there is no mom guilt about that. 😊 We cuddle up each morning to watch the YouTube videos he's saved for me and maybe a science video, but I can't see us doing any other school work like that. Though who knows, we're still figuring out what works!
  7. Looking back now and compared to what I see about RTI online now, he has had quite a bit of intervention. Which is possibly why he didn't score low enough last year to be diagnosed with a learning disability? At the same time, he's had such a hard time with attention, anxiety, and behaviour that it's hard to know how much of that intervention time has actually been spent on task. I do understand what the Barton screening tests, but I think I was assuming that he would pass? Looking at it more closely now (as in actually watching the video...) I'm not so sure. I'll give it to him in the morning now that I've gone through the trouble of figuring out how it works! I left a message for the SLP on Friday and expect to hear back tomorrow. I did find out that she works part time from her home 2.5 hours away and part-time from a clinic that's much closer, so I'm really hoping she'll be able to get us in. Thanks! I hadn't read that thread and was probably subconsciously avoiding it, but will give it a read now. We have educated ourselves about adoption-related trauma and attachment and worked with different counselors over the years. Neither of our adopted sons have any of the major RAD or DSED symptoms, but both are definitely affected in different ways. I was actually looking at MCT and am thinking about getting the Island level. My other kids will love it, even if it's too advanced or challenging for this one. I got a smile out of the idea of having him sit on my lap while we work - he's just about an inch shorter than I am. 😊 His reading Level K is in the Fountas and Pinnell readers that ElizabethB linked. They use these levels to track all the kids' reading until 3rd grade, then just for the kids who get intervention. I googled to find real books at Level K to give as an example, but saw that the books he's reading aloud at home are considered Level M - O? So all of these reading levels and assessments are probably just a very rough estimate...
  8. His school introduced RTI last year, when he was in 3rd grade, but he was actually getting more/better intervention before they brought it in. I'm not sure whether it's poorly designed or they just don't have the resources to implement it well, but parents are very unhappy with the change and I know a few teachers who are beyond frustrated. As for my kid - He started getting pulled out for reading with 1-2 other kids halfway through 1st grade. In 2nd grade, it was for reading, writing, and math. He had an amazing resource teacher that year and made a lot of progress. In 3rd, he did RTI for reading and didn't get pulled out for writing or math. This year, he qualified for RTI in both reading and math. They use Leveled Literacy Intervention for reading, and I know the school doesn't offer anything like Barton or Wilson.
  9. Thank you! I had seen a few of your other posts and saved the website to come back to. There is so much there, I really appreciate this direction for where to start. I've printed out the tests and am playing around with them now with my (much more patient) older son. For the MWIA and nonsense word tests, should I have him do Version A, B, and C, or is the intention to use Version A now and the others to retest later?
  10. The only testing we've had from the school SLP was the CELF when he was 6. Last year, the school psych evaluation included the PPVT, EVT, and an academic assessment that had some oral language subtests. I'm waiting to hear back from both SLPs, but you've convinced me that we need to get more info about his language - both the phonological processing / reading side, and the expressive/narrative/pragmatics side - so I'm really hoping the private SLP is able to evaluate those areas and can get us in reasonably soon. Okay, that social thinking article is seriously interesting. I'll have to come back to it this weekend when I have a bit more time. The developmental optometrist isn't local, but she has convinced me to bring my youngest to her this summer so I may go ahead and have her test this son as well. Looking back through our reports, the school psych did test his VMI last year - VMI 25th percentile, Visual Perception 73rd, Motor Coordination 12th. "Mild difficulties with tasks that require fine motor coordination".
  11. I'm sorry if this sounds a little defensive, because I really do appreciate the time you've taken and all the experience you've shared here. We aren't trying to undiagnose our son, shop for a diagnosis that we like better, or make things harder for him. Our son has struggled so much this year that we truly feel it's necessary. The school district's autism specialist and psychologist have gotten to know him very well this year (never a good sign!), and both are supportive of us going outside the system to get this evaluation. My husband is not on the spectrum and isn't ignoring or denying our son's issues. He was on parental leave for most of this son's kindergarten year, so he took the lead on getting an IEP, the initial assessments, etc. and has stayed very involved. I probably shouldn't have spoken for him because it's been a while since we've really had a conversation about the diagnosis or evaluation so I'm not sure exactly where he is with it now. We are entirely in agreement about getting the evaluation and just waiting now, so we've mostly put it out of our minds and focused on more immediate issues. I should say that we have no plans to walk into the evaluation and make an argument against ASD, but will provide all the information and let the psychologist decide whether to repeat the ASD portion of the assessment. When we spoke with him on the phone, he explained that he'll review all of our documentation before the first appointment and decide which tools to use when he meets with us. We could ask him *not* to reassess for ASD, because he does assess for other issues in kids with ASD, but that seems like a wasted opportunity to get some more information and put our concerns to rest. Our son was 6 when he was diagnosed initially and that evaluation included the WISC, CELF, ADOS, and ADI-R. He didn't score in the ASD range on the ADOS, but did on the ADI-R. So, I can see how there may be some value in repeating them. Even if the psychologist sees it differently and just tells us to accept the diagnosis, I'll feel much more comfortable getting the rest of the assessment from someone who has so much experience with ASD. I wasn't really prepared to discuss the autism issue, but I am glad you responded to it. I do appreciate hearing your experience as someone who's been on the other side of the diagnosis question and as a parent a little ahead of where we are. When we were waiting for the ASD evaluation three years ago (we spent a year on the waiting list), we absolutely hoped he would be diagnosed and felt a sense of relief when he was. Within the last year or so, I've started to feel like the diagnosis is actually making it harder to break down his individual issues because everything is attributed to autism. We've had several parents tell us how lucky we were to get the ADHD diagnosis first, because they've had such a hard time finding someone who will assess their child with ASD for anything else. In terms of making sure he has access to services as an adult - the evaluation will be with a private psychologist, so if we did come away without an ASD diagnosis we wouldn't be under any obligation to share that information with the school or health systems. Right now, the ASD diagnosis doesn't provide our son with access to many services, but I know more will become available as he gets older and wouldn't want to do anything to prevent him from getting supports he needs. I think that's something to work through if we end up in that situation, because it's not our most likely result and still at least six months away. I have wondered about dysgraphia. His writing is not easy to read and he complains about everything (I forget how to make a G, my hand hurts, can I use a marker, how do you spell it, etc.), so I know it's a lot harder for him than it should be. I've been reading through some of the handwriting threads and decided to get started with Handwriting Without Tears. I'll look for other dysgraphia-specific recommendations and some other activities we can do. Thanks for the Writing Skills recommendation as well - it's helpful to hear how and when you used it with your son, and seems like something we could work up to over the next couple months. Thank you! The comprehension work that was sent home was just the basic worksheets you described. They do cover things like sequencing, making predictions, and making inferences, but it's very simple stuff that he could do without any real thought, so it's possible that we're CLE sounds more thorough and I'll take a look. Thank you! I'll have to take some time to run through this stuff tomorrow, and look back through his testing to see if VMI has ever been tested. We don't have access to an OT, but have a friend who is a developmental optometrist I can ask. I believe that level K is his instructional level, because he was still bringing home level I/J books for practice. His teacher said that some kids are at a higher level for reading than they are for comprehension, but that he was at level K for both. I took that to mean that he's not moving forward from level K because of how he reads out loud, but can check with her to confirm both of these. Thank you all! Beth
  12. Wow, thank you for taking the time to respond and break all of that down! I really appreciate it! My son was diagnosed through the public healthcare system (Canada) just over 3 years ago. The ASD team told us up front that they only assess for ASD and wouldn't diagnose any other issues, so we walked away feeling like we had a few pieces of the puzzle in place and still had more to figure out. Now, my husband is fairly convinced that our son doesn't have ASD, and I'm on the fence. Several professionals who've worked with our son feel the same way and are supportive of pursuing a more complete assessment. We adopted him just before he turned 3, and we want to at least be able to discuss the attachment/trauma piece with a professional who will take the time to help us sort it out. I think we'll feel much more comfortable knowing that someone has assessed all of his needs, rather than just looking at the pieces that fit ASD (or ADHD, or LD, etc.). He's had an IEP since kindergarten, originally for "social/emotional developmental delay". It was updated when he was diagnosed with ADHD and then ASD. We never got a support level, but the report from the ASD team specifies "without accompanying intellectual or language impairment". Thank you for such thorough information on all this language stuff! Of all the issues associated with ASD, I have to admit that I've always thought of language as the least of our worries. He was below average in some areas when he was tested at 4 but didn't qualify for speech therapy, then scored average or above average on the language testing at age 6 & 8 - the CELF, PPVT, EVT, and some oral language from the academic assessment. There are definitely times when he shuts down and isn't able to use language, but I've felt like he has age-appropriate language skills in most situations. I've never noticed repetitive speech patterns, but they did check off that box on his ASD evaluation, so I may be a poor judge. Any tests that aren't part of a standard SLP assessment will likely be hard to track down in our area, and private SLPs tend to have long waiting lists. I can ask the elementary school SLP whether there's anything she can do to assess his expressive and narrative language skills or if she has any of the tools you mentioned. That would definitely be our fastest route because he's still technically a student there. And just now, I've found a private SLP about 2.5 hours away who "specializes in reading, writing and spelling difficulties/disorders and is an Associate with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner with the International Dyslexia Association"! So I'll reach out to her as well to see when she's next available. Might as well get on a waiting list! I have actually looked at Barton and thought about giving him the screening, but then thought that if he had dyslexia the educational psychologist would have caught it last year? I do have the report here and can see if one of the SLPs is able to advise me on that. Or I can do the screening because that will be faster. 😊 Okay, this is great and a bit of a relief to hear. I was looking at some of those workbooks, and might even have them in my shopping cart. We've completed the local Grade 4 social studies curriculum, so I'm definitely going to go ahead and get the geography book, and might try a few others. He likes worksheets as long as they don't have too much writing, so I think we have a few options there. The only time I've scribed for him is on comprehension homework sheets that require 1-2 sentence responses, and he's done great with those. For writing at school, they've been trying to get him to use a voice-to-text app without any success. I think it's the open-ended nightmare that you described - he's faced with a completely blank page, or screen, he just shuts down. He did more writing last year because someone would scribe for him and prompt him for one idea or sentence at a time. He definitely does better with more direction, and being asked to come up with his own topic or to write about something he likes just stresses him out. Thankfully, no! I just left my job in December to be home with him, and he's plenty of work on his own. 😂 My other school-aged kids are in public school, and the youngest starts in September. Thanks again! Beth
  13. Hello! I hope this is the best place to post. I’ve been reading these boards for the last few weeks and am so impressed by the level of knowledge and experience shared here. My son is in 9 years old and in 4th grade, but is behind where he should be in most subjects. He has ADHD and has also been diagnosed with ASD. We’re seeking a second opinion on the ASD diagnosis, along with a full evaluation for other behavioural and learning disabilities, but can’t get in until October. He was evaluated through the school system last year and wasn’t diagnosed with any learning disabilities. He has been in public school up until now, but has been going for partial days since December, taking English language arts and math at school and everything else at home. As of this week, I’m officially homeschooling full time. I’ve been doing some extra math with him at home (Math-U-See), which has been going well so I plan to continue with that. Language arts is where I’m really at a loss and could use some direction. I’ve been afraid of doing it “wrong” or messing up what he’s been learning at school. We haven’t done anything at home with him except what his teachers have sent home (reading books at his level and some comprehension worksheets) and reading to him. He loves being read to, his listening comprehension is great, and he never has any trouble answering comprehension questions about what he reads. His actual reading doesn’t seem to have improved this year and his teacher’s evaluation says his reading is at Level K, which is 2nd grade level. He’s done very little writing because he is so resistant at school. I don’t believe he’s worked on much spelling or grammar at school, and we haven’t done any at home. I’ve spent some time reading through language arts-related threads, but I have to admit that most here on the Learning Challenges board have gone way over my head. From some of the other threads, it seems like most people use multiple programs to cover the different aspects of language arts? I’m having trouble figuring out what that should look like for my son and which programs would be best for him, so could really use some help. Reading/phonics is definitely going to be our major focus, but there are so many programs to choose from – I’m not sure whether to be looking at the $$$ special needs reading programs, ones that are recommended for kids with learning disabilities, etc. Can you recommend what type of program would be best or a specific program to start with? In terms of the other areas of language arts, what should we focus on? I’m not requiring him to read or write in other subjects, so I would like for us to work up to about an hour of language arts per day. He works hard and can focus when he’s set up for success, so I do expect that he’ll make more progress at home than he has at school, I’m just really not sure where to focus our energy. For example, should I choose a writing program and scribe for him so he can learn how to compose paragraphs? Or is that something we wait on until he can write independently? I really appreciate any advice or resources you can share about what language arts should look like, and any specific program recommendations are very welcome. Thank you! Beth
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