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About Storygirl

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  1. Storygirl

    What's for dinner?

    Meatball subs, using homemade meatballs from the freezer. I haven't planned the rest of the week yet. I'll need to come up with something for tomorrow that I already have ingredients for, because I think I won't get to the store until Wednesday. I need to plan around what I have in the freezer, anyway, because I need to create some order in there.
  2. I was doing some googling and found this article about pragmatics and how it affects employment and the kinds of therapy that might help. I didn't get all the way to the end, but I found it really helpful. The article is an overview of other studies and focuses on intervention with those who have intellectual disability. However, the information might apply to anyone with pragmatic issues, in my layperson opinion, and might help the OP and others target what interventions they hope an SLP can teach. ETA: ARGH at the very end, the article mentions that there is a large need for SLPs to be trained and interested in treating pragmatics, because most are not. It was written in 2012, so maybe there is some hope that there has been progress in this area since then.
  3. One other thing to consider as you decide what therapy to look for is whether your daughter is interested in participating. DS is resistant to therapy, which means he participates in a lackluster way and does not practice the skills outside of the sessions and complains about having to do it. The last couple of years, we tried both a psychologist (first visited for another issue, but the psych was interested in working on developing language skills in DS) and a social skills group. I can't say that all of those sessions and the cost of them ended up making any difference for him, because he was not interested in working on the skills. He does get sessions with the SLP at school, and I'm glad, because taking him to private sessions at this point would be fruitless. I mention this just because your daughter is a teen, and the results of therapy will depend on how much she is willing to work on things. Social and communication skills are really important for future job and social success, so it is totally worth it to make therapy a priority. But she will need to understand why it is important and agree to participate.
  4. About foreign language.... this is what I know from having two kids with reading disabilities (one comprehension/pragmatics and one with dyslexia) and what I have been told by our public school and the private dyslexia school that my daughter attends: Colleges will waive the entrance requirement for a foreign language done in high school, if the high school did not offer foreign language. Our dyslexia school does not offer foreign languages, so their students cannot take it, and colleges still admit the students. Now, there is no law that colleges must waive this requirement, as far as I know! And it may not be true of all colleges but seems to be true in our state. If there is a local college that you think is a target school, you could call and talk to an admissions officer about this. What colleges require for foreign language within their own programs is also going to vary. I'm just kind of practical when I think about college. DH and I went to college and were high achievers (DH attended an Ivy), but we are not sure all of our kids will follow the four-year path, and we are exploring a lot of different options for them. And it's okay. You might think about several possible paths she could pursue. With communication issues, there can be employment issues, and having a college degree is not a guarantee of being able to find and hold a job. Have you explored your community college programs? I don't want to throw cold water on your hopes. She may very well make great progress and go through college. But when high school work is so hard, and you know college will be harder, there are things to consider about what path might be best. It's hard. Right now I have a 17 year old, and as much as I like the idea of a four year college for her, I'm not sure it's the practical or best choice (and she does not have any LDs; there are other reasons for her alternate plans). But it's hard to consider doing things differently.
  5. For writing, I'm wondering about the Wings to Soar program. You say it's helpful but also hard. I'm wondering how much you are helping her with it. With such language difficulties, she should be getting accommodations for academics and would be if she had an IEP and were enrolled in school. It's appropriate for you to modify and/or provide supports. It's okay to modify the assignments yourself, above what the online program requires. Actually, I have met the Wings to Soar author at a homeschooling convention (more than once), and if you have not already, I think you should call her. She was so willing to talk to anyone who came into their booth. I'm sure she would discuss your daughter's new diagnoses and enduring difficulties with you. Also, I used her program for early elementary when she was just developing it (it was still in the beta stage), for my dyslexic daughter. It was so intense and time consuming, and in the end, it was not what DD needed. I don't know what the program at the high school level is like, but it's possible that as designed, it is too much for your daughter, and that she needs a slower pace or less volume of work. I would just consider how you can tweak what you are doing to work better for your daughter. If it is good AND hard, consider what makes it so hard and try to reduce that impact, while retaining what is good. Because as a homeschooler, you are still her primary teacher, even when you are using an online program, so it's okay to step in and see how you can make it work better. Edited to add: I looked at the website, and they offer consultations with their intervention specialist as a service. So it's possible she would charge you. But maybe not?? Who knows? It's worth a try to contact them and say you use their program and have a new diagnosis and want to speak with someone about how to provide appropriate accommodations, over and above what is built into the program.
  6. Has she had a hearing evaluation by an audiologist? I assume a hearing issue has been ruled out, but in case it has not, it is worth looking into. The kind of screening done at the pediatrician's office is not thorough enough. DS14 has pragmatic language issues and yet is not, as of yet, diagnosed with autism (he has nonverbal learning disorder). I agree that an experienced SLP can work on communication issues. You might contact the local high school to talk to the speech therapists there to see if they can recommend a private practitioner. Or, if your local school will provide services to homeschoolers (some do; some don't), you could pursue an IEP through the school, so that she could get therapy there. Through the school would be my second choice probably (though DS is enrolled in school and works with a SLP for his IEP goals), because they are likely to offer fewer hours of therapy than you would get privately. I will also say that it is not uncommon at all for a psych to miss an autism diagnosis if they do not specialize in evaluating autism. Did the psych do a full autism diagnosis or just some screening things and offer an opinion? Because if she exhibits characteristics that could be considered like Aspergers, it just rings some bells for me. What did she say were the things that ruled out a diagnosis? Autism can look different in girls. She may very well have the language issues but not have autism. But pragmatic difficulties are so commonly associated with autism that it's worth considering whether you think she had a thorough enough screening. DS14 was diagnosed with NVLD (not in the DSM; under the DSM, he probably would have received a SCD diagnosis from other psychs) at age 10, but I have always wondered if another psych might decide the autism question differently. Did you suspect autism at all? You probably know this, but pragmatic language is the part of communication that is not spoken. The nonverbal cues and the things inferred but not stated outright. Reading comprehension difficulties are common, because reading is not just about deciphering what is on the page but understanding the writer's intent, the connections between ideas, and how the details point to a larger picture. That requires pragmatic language skill. Also, missing nonverbal cues really affects communication. Some speculate that up to 65% of all communication is through nonverbals, so kids like my son may miss up to 2/3 of the MEANING of what they hear. And going through life missing all of that means they have absorbed less background information as well. It's not surprising that deficits in pragmatics then can also affect written output. Much of writing is forming connections, and when the student has trouble forming connections, it makes sense that it will affect what they write and also what they are able to talk about. You may know all of this already. But in case the psych didn't explain it, or if it is all new to you, I thought I would share some of what I've learned.
  7. We rinse, but not so much that the dishes look clean; just enough to get the main gunk off. My dishwasher tends to collect gross gunk along the front edge; it doesn't clear all of the food residue out, even when we do rinse. I can't imagine what it would be like in there if we let chunks of food on the dishes. And we have six people and run the dishwasher about every day and a half. We wait until it is completely full, and we arrange the dishes carefully to avoid wasted space. But I don't wash pots, pans, mixing bowls, cutting boards, food processor, or awkwardly shaped plastic ware in there. Those things are washed by hand.
  8. I think the reasons for the changing plans are important. If they are out of the girl's control (parents definitely can affect plans), then it really isn't her fault, and it makes sense that your son would be disappointed; she is probably disappointed, too. If she is being flaky, that's something else and is more suggestive of a problem with the relationship itself.
  9. If I'm reading things correctly, Dawn's concern is not so much the emotional maturity of her son, but that the girlfriend may not be the best choice for him, because she generates unhappiness in him so often. Because he is usually a happy kid, but the relationship makes him unhappy, it makes Dawn concerned. Advising a teen that their romantic interest may not be the best choice is tricky. We've had some trials around this this year with DD17, although in her case it was not with an established boyfriend, but with someone she was interested in dating. It was tricky. My apologies, Dawn, if I'm not on the right track.
  10. It's making me sad to see that average students not in honors classes are being painted as bad friends and poor influences. What percentage of students are in honors? I would guess not more than 1/3, if that?? So 2/3 of the students at that school are undesirable? I'm sorry, but I think that is an elitist attitude. I was in the highest classes all through high school, and there were plenty of kids that did not have the best character in my classes. My own children are not in honors classes, and they have been able to find peers who are good friends. I do have one child who gravitates toward the risk taking kids, and I wish he would choose better friends. But he would gravitate toward the risk takers in ANY class. His choice of friends is a reflection of his OWN character more than anything else. I understand the concern that being in a class with students who are unmotivated can result in a less positive academic and social experience. I get that. I have those concerns myself. But it makes me very sad to think that other parents would consider my kids to be poor choices for friends, just because they are not advanced academically. I do have things to say about choosing public versus private schools after homeschooling, because we have made those decisions multiple times in our family. But I think I probably shouldn't read this thread any more.
  11. I also think the big question not addressed in your OP is..... does he want to change? If he does not want to change, it's going to be hard to impose anything on him. If he does want to change his habits, he obviously needs to be involved in all of the decisions, because if he is not onboard, he will not continue with them once he is living away from home. You and your wife disagree, but what does he want? My kids are mostly younger. DH and I still tell our young teens when to go to bed. I am honestly not averse to parents setting a sleep schedule for the household. We have done so here. But it's different for an 18 year old who is probably going away to college in a few months and who has been used to staying up late. If you impose requirements on him now, will he object?
  12. There have been a lot of helpful comments posted so far. I will just add that that medicating for ADHD can impact sleep, so it's something you may want to discuss. DS14 takes several meds -- generic Focalin during the day, melatonin at night (makes a big difference for him), and clonidine at night. We added the clonidine because of tics (Tourettes). And it's the clonidine I wanted to mention, because it has been found to help some with ADHD and also makes people sleepy. Since you say his hyperactivity kicks in during the evenings, perhaps finding a med he can take at that time could help both the ADHD and the sleep. I can't tell you what will work for anyone else, of course. Just planting something for you to ponder and discuss with his physician. Clonidine is cheap, is not a controlled substance, and is not obviously an ADHD med (in case your son would be reluctant to take something specifically for ADHD to college with him). There may be other meds that help with ADHD and sleep that can be taken in the evenings; clonidine just happens to be what I'm familiar with, so I am mentioning it.
  13. Storygirl

    Homeschooling a strong willed child

    I'm sorry. It can be so, so hard. I dealt with similar issues with two of mine, and passive-aggressive behavior with the third (out of four). Ultimately, I stopped homeschooling and sent them to school. They have all been evaluated for learning disabilities, and two of them have IEPs, and the third has a 504. I found homeschooling disheartening (we lasted until fourth/fifth grade), and parenting is still hard. So. Some of the things you mention can go along with ADHD, so if you haven't, I would talk to the pediatrician about a screening. It can manifest differently in girls, so you might want to read up on that online before you talk to the doctor. I also agree that sometimes challenging behavior during school work is related to undiagnosed learning issues. Not always -- one of my hard-to-school kids didn't test as having any, though he did have lower scores in some areas. Sometimes it is ODD or anxiety. And sometimes people just have challenging personalities. But it's good to rule out other issues. Feeling like my kids don't respect me is heart-rending, so I sympathize with you over that. I try to remind myself to work on building the positive aspects of our relationship, which is easier said than done when you feel really discouraged. But it can help in the long run.
  14. Also, related to sensory overload... You may find you need to walk through the casino at times. This varies by ship. I've been on ships where the only path to our destination was through the casino (even with kids in tow), and on other ships, it has not been a problem. The reason I hate the casino is the smoke (smoking was allowed there on the ships we were on) and the noise. I am sensory averse, so I hated walking through there. Find a way to avoid it, if you can. Also, be aware that many ships have an arcade for kids, and the games are very expensive, so it is an easy way for kids to blow through spending money. We've always just warned my kids in advance that they can look in the arcade, but we won't play any games there. There will be things on the ship that will cost extra money. In general, you may warn your son ahead of time about what you will and will not pay for, in case he gets upset when he's not allowed to buy things he wants. You mentioned a milkshake, for example. That will be an extra charge (and it will be much higher than what you would pay for for a milkshake on land). Some ships have a free soft serve ice cream machine somewhere.
  15. The down time on the ship is totally dependent upon you. You should get a listing each day of the organized activities, and you can decide which of them to do and plan your day around them. Some people stay busy all day participating in trivia contests, ship tours, karaoke, wine tasting, scrapbooking, cupcake decorating, bingo, gambling at the casino, shopping in the ship stores, etc.. What is offered depends upon the ship. Some people want to be entertained all day and complain that there are not enough activities. Some people don't want to be busy and just want to nap in a lounge chair. There should be a big show or comedian or something each night, and there are usually alternative options as well (ex: a ship version of the Newlywed Game has been offered on every cruise I've been on, I think). I enjoy going to the shows. But if you don't, there will be time in the evenings when you don't have something on your schedule. So the down time is any other time when you aren't participating in an organized activity. I imagine your son will need you to be his companion for most hours of the day and will keep you busy. But if he goes to the kids club, or if he hangs out with the grandparents, and you have time to yourself, that will be your down time. I like to find a lounge chair and read and look out at the water when my kids are occupied away from me, so I take books with me.
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