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Cake and Pi

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  1. DS#2's oral reading was qualitatively... different. He'd skip words and say words that weren't there, pulling in words from the lines above and/or below. He'd substitute words with synonyms (e.g. book said "angry" but DS#2 read "furious") or change the order of words. If I covered up all but the line he was reading, he'd keep going past the end of the line even before I'd uncovered the next. Essentially, he was predicting the text and saying what he expected without reading everything. He was missing a lot of the actual words, but he was able to compensate by being familiar with writing patterns and by having a very wide and deep knowledge base. This worked for him with longer passages and books. He aced reading comprehension for these kinds of things and tested at a 5th-6th grade reading level in kindergarten. However, I saw things break down with shorter passages, written instructions, and especially in *math*. It's hard to get a word problem correct when you miss-read a quarter or more of the words! As you know, changing the order of a few words in a story problem can change everything about the math involved. And even though school said he was reading so well in K, they measured almost no reading growth after that. When I pulled him to homeschool half-way through 5th grade, the school asserted that he was reading at an early 7th grade level. Interestingly, when I had him tested privately the following month, the psych found his reading comprehension to be12th grade level and his reading fluency to be 1st grade level. Originally I attributed the things I was noticing to his young age. He started reading at 3yo, whereas my older kiddo didn't read until he was almost 5. I thought perhaps I'd forgotten about DS#1 going through a similar stage or maybe he skipped the stage because he was older when he started reading. Then we found out that DS#2 needed glasses at 4yo and I thought that explained everything. We saw a big jump in his reading level after he got his glasses, but the differences remained. Then when DS#2 was around 6yo, then-4yo DS#3 started reading aloud and *didn't* do any of the odd things DS#2 did. DS#3 quickly outpaced DS#2 in his reading ability. That's when I started to feel really concerned. I tried talking to school about it. They blew off my concerns and said I didn't know what a real learning problem looked like (They obviously didn't know I had DS#4 with an IEP already, lol.), but I wasn't going to let it go. Very long story on the testing, but he was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, anxiety, and PG, which explains a whole lot of the big picture we see with him. When I pulled DS#2 to homeschool half-way through 5th grade, he couldn't spell spin (public school doesn't do spelling beyond 2nd grade here). His difficulty with spelling made it so he couldn't get his thoughts out on paper. He had big ideas but got too frustrated when he tried to write because he couldn't spell the words he wanted to use, so he gave up and refused to write just about anything. His difficulty with spelling ended up holding him back in other seemingly-unrelated subjects, so I've had to do quite a bit of remediation in everything to do with written language. I've had him home for a year and a half now, and he's making wonderful progress, but this would have been so much easier if we'd been working on it all along. My DS#1 was always homeschooled; I just didn't prioritize spelling. I first started him in a spelling program in 4th grade, and that was really too late. He needed to start near the beginning, but many programs seemed too babyish to him. By mid-way through 7th grade he was most of the way through Sequential Spelling 4 and was OVER spelling. He felt he was too old to do spelling, and it was cutting into time that he wanted to spend on more advanced/complex language arts instruction. If we'd started when he was younger, I could have gotten more spelling instruction in before I lost his buy-in.
  2. I was told that scripting and delayed echolalia were the same thing but that scripting is the more commonly used term in behavioral sciences (such as by an ABA) and delayed echolalia is more commonly used by SLPs and self-advocates? My understanding was that scripting/delayed echolalia could be either functional and to communicate or non-functional, like a stim, and could be a recitation of just about anything: lines from TV shows, things family or friends have said, things electronic toys say, etc. Is that different than what you're saying? And I was told that this kind of thing *is* scripting/ delayed echolalia. I wonder if these terms have regional differences in use and application. I'm glad it sounds quality. Sometimes I second guess what I'm doing with him. 😄 I might not have expressed my thoughts clearly. The first bit of my post was my immediate response to the discussion on syntax. If my kid is repeating verbatim a sentence or phrase that works to get his point across, I find that preferable to the word salad or non-word vocalizations (that I often can't understand) that we might get otherwise. The second part of my post, which I didn't do a very good job of transitioning to, was about my attempt at home-cooked language therapy and trying to harnesses the tendency to echo/scrip to end up with more language with correct syntax.
  3. Two of my kids were similar and finished 100 EZ Lessons at 4-5yo. We didn't do anything afterward beyond reading whatever they wanted from the library and later copywork and then dictations. One turns out to be dyslexic (yes, truly, even though he read very young), and I really wish we'd jumped straight into a phonics-based spelling program after finishing 100EZ. I don't think it would have mattered much which spelling program as long as it was phonics-based. If I had a do-over I'd do that with both of them, actually. We eventually did spelling, but it would have been much better to start right away. Another of my kids already knew how to read when I pulled out 100 EZ Lessons at 4yo to teach him. (Surprise!) I had him read through all of the decodable readers in a mainstream program (Sing, Spell, Read, and Write -- because I had them) just to make sure there weren't any holes and then took him through Wise Owl Polysyllables, which is *not* phonics-based but teaches to break longer words into syllables to sound them out. His spelling naturally developed alongside his decoding and with copywork such that I never directly taught him spelling. This approach wouldn't have worked for my older two who really did/do need explicit spelling instruction.
  4. Yup. It might be good to remove eye contact from the goals list altogether. Always seemed like a waste of time to me anyway. Lol! I'd like to see that. The longer I'm on this journey, the more I think scripting is perhaps an acceptable end-point. I mean, it works. Right now I'm teaching syntax to DS#4 basically through rote memorization -- and it's WORKING! It's not a very efficient process, but it's better than anything else I've tried so far. I'm using the language strand from Reading Mastery, which I *think* may be equivalent to the separate SRA Language for Learning program, but I haven't quite figured out how the different DI programs overlap or don't. It's really just drilling short scripts with sentence frames and errorless learning. For example... Teacher: This is a clock. What's this? Kid: A clock. Teacher: Yes, a clock. Say the whole thing. Kid: This is a clock. Teacher: This is a pencil. What's this? Kid: A pencil. Teacher: Yes, a pencil. Say the whole thing. Kid: This is a pencil. Teacher: This is a book. What's this? Kid: A book. Teacher: Yes, a book. Say the whole thing. Kid: This is a book.... Rinse, repeat like 5 bajillion times per lesson with various nous, then do the same thing again in tomorrow's lesson and the day after and the day after and the day after and after for a couple of months.... Tada! kid can now say "This is a _____" about things he has a label for. 🙂
  5. A child this age cannot "fail" school; it is the learning environment that is failing the child. Studies show that except in certain, rare circumstances, grade-retaining struggling students not only doesn't help them, but it is likely to actually harm them long term. By a couple of years post-retention, they generally are doing worse academically than kids with similar profiles who where not held back. There are often negative social and emotional consequences, especially in adolescence, and grade-retained kids are more likely to drop out of high school and/or end up in the justice system than similarly struggling kids who were promoted on the regular schedule. I mean, think about it. If the classroom instruction didn't work the first time, why would doing the same, unhelpful thing *again* be any better? She needs individualized, targeted interventions, not more of something that clearly didn't work. There are entire books on this subject, but here's a brief summary: https://www.du.edu/marsicoinstitute/media/documents/Does_Retention_Help_Struggling_Learners_No.pdf I chose to have one of my kids repeat kindergarten in public school. He had a long list of exceptionalities that made his situation unlike that of the typical struggling student (young for grade, super small, immature for age, language disorder, multiple years behind on *every* measure, etc.), and I still go back and forth about whether it was really the best decision. The only reason I ultimately chose to retain him was because he wasn't going back to the same unsuccessful situation. He was repeating the grade, but in a new classroom with a new teacher and with an updated IEP -- an IEP decked out with supports, accommodations, and interventions informed by new neuropsych testing and years of data collection. Since you prefer not to homeschool, I urge you to consider switching to public education so that she can get interventions and support to help her succeed. If you feel private school is the only option, please get neuropsych testing done so you can find out why she's struggling and at least know what the school *should* be doing to address her needs.
  6. Brain imaging supports the notion that eye contact may be distressing for autistic individuals. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-03378-5
  7. I read it as procedural and declarative verbal memory may *appear* impaired in kids with DLD, but they're actually consistent with nonverbal IQ and working memory, which were presumably lower in this group than the TD control group.
  8. Reading your other post, your DD sounds a lot like my youngest DS in terms of strengths and challenges (totally different diagnoses, though -- my kid is autistic and has encephalopathy + mild CP from his birth history). My DS#4 has relative strengths in visual processing and visual memory along with his basement-level verbal memory and a significant language disorder. He transitioned from EI to an inclusion SPED preschool at 3yo, did two years of prek and then two years of public kindergarten (mainstreamed with an IEP and lots of pull-outs) before switching to homeschool. Anyway, we started Right Start 1st edition level A about 15 months ago (and schooled through summer) at 6.5yo and it was soooooo slow going. He took about 3 months to get through the first 7 lessons, which were designed to take a typical 4-5yo less than 3 weeks to complete. We eeked out a few more lessons along side other math programs in the next 7ish months. Then he hit a solid brick wall and could not move forward no matter what I did. The hands-on component was excellent, but Right Start is surprisingly verbal! It also includes quite a few activities that require relatively high (aka at least low-average-ish) working memory. My son also needed waaaaay more practice with concepts than was built into RS, and the jumping around between topics that is standard in RS was problematic for him. It confused him to begin a new topic before the previous one was completely solid. There's a RS for struggling learners FB group that I mostly lurk on, and RS seems to work for many children with learning challenges; it just didn't work for mine. If you already have the materials or your budget has room for some experimentation, I say go for it. Just be ready to adjust things or ditch RS entirely if it doesn't work out. Also, in all fairness, my DS#4 also tried and got stuck in MUS Primer (at lesson 9, the same concept that he stalled on in RS) and ST Math (again, same concept). *NO* regular math curriculum was going to work for this concept and my kid at that time. He just wasn't developmentally ready. We took a couple of months off around surgery and now have spent the last 2.5 months in the Ronit Bird Dots book and doing other basic number sense activities. He's still struggling, but it feels less hopeless. I don't know if that's because of the change in approach or if at almost 8yo we're seeing the result of time and increasing mental maturity. I plan to switch him to a tier-3 public school intervention math program soon, SRA Connecting Math Concepts, because he's doing so well with SRA Reading Mastery Signature Edition, the reading and language program that uses the same DISTAR/Direct Instruction approach. Would it have worked when he was 5? Maybe, but I doubt it. I think his brain needed more time to grow and develop. Alternatives to RS to consider: ST Math - Online complete math curriculum that is 100% language-free until upper elementary. Also happens to be free this year. https://www.stmath.com/homeschool-math Ronit Bird dyscalculia materials. The Apple iBooks are a bazillion and one times better than the paperback books you can buy on Amazon. http://www.ronitbird.com/ebooks-for-learners-with-dyscalculia/
  9. We're calling next year 2nd grade for my globally delayed kiddo, but it'll effectively be a lot like a fourth year of kindergarten. I'm planning: Blossom & Root Early Years Vol. 1 Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science level 1 -- second pass through Heggerty Bridge the Gap Intervention Lessons (phonological awareness) SRA Reading Mastery grade K, Reading Strand SRA Reading Mastery grade K, Oral Language Strand SRA Connecting Math Concepts grade K KiwiCo Kiwi Crate (if it's not a good fit we'll switch back to the Koala Crate) Keyboarding Without Tears, finish K and then... repeat K? Begin 1st? Speech therapy, social skills group, OT, and PT/swimming (depending on if the indoor pool is open this fall and winter) We've been working through Reading Mastery since early April, and I'm hopeful that we'll be to at least lesson 36 by August and can get through the remaining 124 lessons over the course of the year. The DISTAR/Direct Instruction approach is working so well for him for reading and language that we're switching to SRA Connecting Math Concepts as well. If it doesn't work out as planned, my fallback is going to be the final 2/3s of MUS Primer with RS and Ronit Bird games and perhaps to try ST Math again.
  10. In the last 3.5 years my DS#2 just... outgrew it 🤷‍♀️. He very rarely does it anymore, anyway, and he never did actual speech therapy (his speech eval was for entrance to a social skills group). My DS#3 still does it, and it's still variable based on stress/excitement. Newest SLP is calling it "cluttering" or "cluttered speech" but officially diagnosed "childhood onset fluency disorder F80.81," which, it seems, is a shared diagnosis code for both cluttering and stuttering. Both do seem to be treated about the same way. Anyway, it's a bit better now at 9 than back at 6yo, but not all that much. We've focused much more heavily on social communication than on his articulation or fluency over the intervening years because he *wants* to improve his social communication but he doesn't yet care one tiny bit about the state of his articulation or speech fluency (and hence rarely cooperates in that aspect of therapy).
  11. Once upon a time I had just a 5yo and an 8yo homeschooling. We did literature and social studies together, but I worked with them each separately for all the other subjects, alternating between them. The one I wasn't working with would play independently or participate in whatever therapy they were at (we did a ton of waiting-room-schooling). We use curricula, though, so things were maybe easier for me? At the time DS#1 was doing Beast Academy 5 and DS#3 was doing Right Start C/D. Each kid got the individual attention they needed. Now with four homeschooling there's no way I could do almost all the subjects with each individually. But basically, while I work with one on a subject that they need one-on-one attention for, the others either work independently or play. Right now I have two that need my undivided or nearly undivided attention and two that can do most things independently, just needing me to grade, give feedback and dictations, that kind of thing. It works out.
  12. From talking with other parents I've gotten the impression that 10-14 is typical. For another set of data points, my oldest started working semi-independently (just needed supervision but not much interaction unless he got stuck) at 11 and was fully independent and reliably did assignments without reminders beyond a daily check list at 12. Second kid is 11.5 now and *just* in the last couple of months hit semi-independence, working independently as long as I'm nearby making sure he isn't goofing off on his computer (he's doing an AoPS class). Kid #3 was semi-independent at 7-8, but has recently regressed without ADHD meds and now at 9 isn't doing much of anything without *constant* redirection. He'll literally be mid-sentence explaining his reasoning on a problem and just stop and stare off into space or switch to talking about antimatter or Minecraft the fact that zippers are actually just tiny wedges and examples of simple machines. Its feeling like independence is a very long way out.
  13. I'm using OUP The World in Ancient Times series with an outlier 3rd grader (plus 5th and 7th graders) this year. He thinks it's great. It is solidly middle school level, no more difficult than Hakim's History of US. I like to read (or have my kids read to themselves) the corresponding chapter in HQ as an overview before we dive deep in OUP. I also use the HQ guide a bit. Usually I give my kids Writing Revolution style assignments in history, but when we need a lighter day or I don't feel like coming up with a writing assignment I'll pull out the longer dictation or comprehension questions from HQ. We also do the map work. If we weren't so busy I know my 3rd grader would appreciate many of the hands-on activities in the guide as well.
  14. How did you list these on the transcript and divvy out credits per year?
  15. My oldest will be in 8th grade next year. Math: WTMA AoPS Precalculus class Science: Online G3 non-traditional physics and astronomy classes. History (combined with DS#2 & DS#3): The Medieval & Early Modern World (Oxford University Press) as a spine plus a half-dozen History Unboxed crates, a coordinating middle-grades literature list, and maybe-possibly-probably the History Quest Middle Times narrative. Writing Revolution style assignments worked in. English Language Arts: MCT 5 Lens I level with the lit trilogy, Fix It 4, Online G3 Essay Essentials and Shakespeare Tragedies & Sonnets classes. Other: Athena's Teen Goal-Setting class Digital art and graphic design using Adobe Creative Cloud Physical fitness training w/ Dad Family art crate from Outside the Box Creations Poetry Teatimes BW style
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