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Jaybee

cross post - AAS question

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I am about to finish Level 2 with my 10yo ds. I can't tell that his spelling has improved much at all. He was adopted internationally at almost 4yo. His reading came slowly but he is making good progress now, and without testing, I think he is almost on grade level now. His writing is behind, but he's learning. His spelling is atrocious. We had him tested before he started 3rd grade, and was diagnosed with a reading disability. It was not specific, though, and the results were not very helpful.


 


So as we finish this book, I don't know whether to continue on and buy Level 3, and just keep plugging away. I also have A Workbook for Dyslexics on hand that I could use. If he is dyslexic, it is very mild, but I thought the materials that would be helpful for dyslexics would probably be helpful for him as well. Has anyone here used this book? If so, what did you take away from it?


 


Ideas or suggestions, anyone?


 


ETA: I guess there has been some improvement with AAS. He knows the rules, and can sometimes apply them. But not anything as consistently as I would like.


 

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He may need to go back to a more basic understanding of sounds.  I know that my kids actually did a lot better after we did Level 1 and 2 of Barton Reading and Spelling because the first Level doesn't work with letters at all, only the most common sounds in American English, then the second Level worked on associating the most common sounds with the most common spellings of words.  I hadn't thought that would be necessary and my 13 year old thought it was really silly at first but it did really, really help.

 

Spelling actually involves a LOT of different processes and it can be hard to integrate those processes, especially if one or more are not working right.  When you had the assessment what type was it and who did it?

 

Different people on here have had different experiences, but I know that our personal experience was that the assessment through the school was worthless and took us in the wrong direction.  We had a private assessment with a person trained not just to assess for learning disablities as defined by the school system but for overall, very specific strengths and weaknesses.  The private assessment was multiple pages long, the evaluator spent several hours explaining everything and she gave us a huge list of strengths and weaknesses for both kids, many of which we didn't even know existed and gave us a wonderful jumping off point for where to remediate, where to accomodate and what sorts of interests and careers might really be perfect for the areas of strength they had that we didn't even know about.  She helped us understand our kids as a whole package, as well as all the different pieces and it was wonderful.  Not all assessments even in the private sector are like that though, unfortunately.

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Jaybee, just so you know, reading disorder=dyslexia.  http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/RecentUpdates.aspx

 

Recent Updates to Proposed Revisions for DSM-5 

Below is a list of updates made to this Web site, including changes in draft criteria and other proposed revisions, since the end of the last open commenting period (July 2011). Between now and June 15, 2012, we welcome your comments and questions on these changes. Work group members will review all comments, and in conjunction with results from the recently completed DSM-5 Field Trials, will begin making final revisions to their proposed changes for DSM-5. This will represent the final time this Web site will be updated before publication of DSM-5 in May 2013.

 DSM Changes

 

Disorder-Specific Changes

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Communication Disorders - Restructured to now include Social Communication Disorder plus two diagnostic categories: Language Disorders and Speech Disorders. These categories each contain appropriate subtypes to cover all seven of the disorders previously proposed for this diagnostic category (Language Emergence; Specific Language Impairment; Social Communication Disorder; Voice Disorder; Speech-Sound Disorder; Motor Speech Disorder; Child Onset Fluency Disorder).

Learning Disorder has been changed to Specific Learning Disorder and the previous types of Learning Disorder (Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Disorder of Written Expression) are no longer being recommended. The type of Learning Disorder will instead be specified as noted in the diagnosis.

Social Communication Disorder has undergone some moderate wording changes for consistency with wording of other DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder - minor wording changes

Chronic Tic Disorder, Tic Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified, and Tic Disorder Associated With Another Medical Condition - minor wording changes

Addition of criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified

 
That's sort of old, since it was during the revision/comment period a year ago.  Nevertheless, if you go to the link and search http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/RecentUpdates.aspx  with the term dyslexia it doesn't pop up.  
 

Aren't there some free spelling diagnostic tests you can google online and take?  SWR includes one in the manual.

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I would recommend continuing with the AAS because of his reading disability diagnosis and spelling issues.  Since his reading has come along, AAS could very well be a contributing factor in that, and the AAS will help with the foundational skills necessary for encoding words.  Spelling is a more difficult task than reading because reading is just looking at the word, recalling the phonemes, and figuring out the word.  With spelling there is no visual cue before the student so he has to pull everything out of his mind.. figure out what he wants to say, try to recall the phonemes related to the sounds one-by-one, and then remember it long enough to get it on paper.  Spelling is the most resistant area of remediation for children with dyslexia. 

 

What you may want to do is add in additional progress for reinforcement.  At the bottom of this page: http://learningabledkids.com/multi_sensory_training/free-multisensory-curriculum-online.htm, there are several free online spelling programs which your son might be willing to practice with.  Also, research shows that for those resistent spelling problems after the child has been taught the phonemes, a self-correction method works BEST for overcoming the spelling difficulties.  My DS had a very difficult time with spelling, but using the self-correction method eventually transformed him into an excellent speller.

 

Hope that helps!

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OH.. And AAS is specifically based upon the methods used for teaching children with dyslexia..The Orton-Gillingham methods. 

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Thank you so much for the links, etc. I don't have a lot of time right now, so I will go through them later. We were coming in from overseas, and the lady who did the assessment does private assessments, then usually sends them to the schools. I was not terribly impressed by her professionalism, but she is who was recommended to us, and that's where we started. She made some suggestions, but most were things we were already doing.

 

His reading was coming along before we started with AAS. When he does the spelling for the lessons, he usually does very well. He just cannot seem to apply them anywhere else. I know that is typical for a time, and this is also a child for whom many things just take time and lots of review when it comes to schoolwork. 

 

Yes, I have looked at various O-G methods. I didn't start with AAR or Barton, because his reading was progressing, but I did feel like he needed a partial program of some sort.

 

Thank you again for your recommendations.

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Sandy, have you used AAS? (not that I'm saying your opinion is not good, just checking) Yes, it's OG-based, but it doesn't include a lot of repetition or tools that some kids would need for the spelling to stick.  The SWR diagnostics allow you to differentiate overall spelling level and mastery, which usually are different scores.  That's probably some of what she's seeing, coupled with not yet being into a level that is going to match what she's hoping for based on his age.  Some things take time to remediate and plow through.

 

We did SWR for years then went back through all the levels of AAS very cursorily after VT as a fresh way of doing things.  My dd never would have learned to spell with AAS.  The presentation is organized (love) and some of what she does is quite good.  I LOVE, super love, her use of the tiles.  It has a slower presentation than SWR, which can help some kids and isn't good for others, and it doesn't have many tools built in for myriad exposure the way SWR does.  SWR has major enrichment exercises for every word list, and the exercises hit a variety of modalities and approaches, some contextualized, some able to be more kinesthetic, etc.  It also has the dictation sentences.  Basically I went through the word lists 3 times, as in 3 years in a row, each time with new activities and ways to interact because it has so many options.  So if someone is getting the overall spelling level comprehension but not getting mastery and carry-over, then sometimes what they need is more use.  Could be smarter use (visualization and spelling backwards) or could be just plain MORE use (what I did with my dd).  AAS doesn't give them any of that, especially for that age of dc.  The sample sentences in AAS are extremely young and simplistic. I'm saying I can totally see where a person might find the methodology of AAS helpful but need some extras for more practice, more carryover. 

 

Also, this is super, extremely, duper nitpicky, but AAR pre was not in the correct order for phonological awareness development.  So the materials are great and going to work for some kids, but if a kid is a harder case and the mom's gut says something isn't right (not clicking, not the right order, not enough practice, why isn't this connecting) it could be the materials, not the kid.  I'm not meaning to slam them, because again I *liked* aspects of AAR pre a LOT.  I'm just saying it has those issues.  I'm super picky.  My boy is 5 and yesterday told me 7 was 8.  I'm starting to get freaky. (is that normal, is that plus the other things indicative of something, is this developmental or something I need to be intervening in a different way on, etc.)  When someone makes a program and gets things out of order developmentally, then the kids who struggle most are going to be affected by that error.  If the lady is saying AAS isn't cutting it, it really might not be.  It might be *salvageable* but that requires doing a bit of diagnostic testing and sorting out what's going on.  I think someone recently found some good diagnostic tests online that would give you grade levels.  Hopefully from that you can generate an overall and a mastery spelling score.  (overall=how many got right, mastery=how many till first missed)  Also get a reading diagnostic score.  I used the McCall-Crabbs books with my dd.  Then with some information and reflection, you can choose a path.  I do totally agree though that if AAS is working in aspects, stay put and just bolster up whatever *isn't* getting done.   :)

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Jaybee, you posted just as I was!  :)   I can't say what every kid needs, but for mine we ended up doing a lot of dictation, a lot of exposure in context.  Some kids do amazingly well with visualization techniques, where they close their eyes and visualize the word then say it aloud backwards.  Some kids profit from claying the words or air writing.  I would try lots of techniques.  

 

SWR suggested people go through all the lists twice, as in one year and repeat again the next, only faster.  I found with dd I had to go through the lists *3* times.  So three years in a row we went back to list A.  Sigh.  Each time when we went through the lists, we would do them a *different way*...  So one year we might go through them via standard SWR-style dictation, another year with enrichments and a 3rd year using the sample sentences provided in the materials.  Some years I ran things parallel, so we might have a new list running and then dictate a sentence or two a day from an old list, giving that overlap.  Dd seemed to need to SEE the words in context.  After we did the dictation, I would have her read it aloud to me to give her more time seeing it.  We also did the Calvert spelling on the computer at one point, just because it was really good visual input and bolstered her confidence.  She hit a terrible low one year and the computer let her work without feeling dumb.  

 

Dictation was really good for us.  I love, love, love the sentences in the Wise Guide, but there are other great sources.  Susan Anthony has her Dictation Resource book that I never used but have admired.  Sometimes we just did dictation from a good book!  That can be a FABULOUS thing for kids, because again it's context.  We did that for several months and one point, and what's really fascinating is that her *mastery* and her overall spelling scores finally evened up doing that.  It wasn't hard dictation, because most popular fiction isn't going to be hard.  (I think we were using Pooh.)  That practice in the basics was really good for her.

 

We stopped working on spelling in 7th.  I tried to give her ways to look up words and reward her for taking the time.  I tried to work into our dictation the idea that she could know if she knew it or not at least and ASK when she didn't.  I felt in her case that self-monitoring was worth something.  She's not going to win a spelling contest at this point, but she's at least accurate and willing to ask or look up when she doesn't know something.  She types most of her work now, so that makes looking up stuff easy.

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Sandy, have you used AAS? (not that I'm saying your opinion is not good, just checking) Yes, it's OG-based, but it doesn't include a lot of repetition or tools that some kids would need for the spelling to stick.  The SWR diagnostics allow you to differentiate overall spelling level and mastery, which usually are different scores.  That's probably some of what she's seeing, coupled with not yet being into a level that is going to match what she's hoping for based on his age.  Some things take time to remediate and plow through.

 

We did SWR for years then went back through all the levels of AAS very cursorily after VT as a fresh way of doing things.  My dd never would have learned to spell with AAS.  The presentation is organized (love) and some of what she does is quite good.  I LOVE, super love, her use of the tiles.  It has a slower presentation than SWR, which can help some kids and isn't good for others, and it doesn't have many tools built in for myriad exposure the way SWR does.  SWR has major enrichment exercises for every word list, and the exercises hit a variety of modalities and approaches, some contextualized, some able to be more kinesthetic, etc.  It also has the dictation sentences.  Basically I went through the word lists 3 times, as in 3 years in a row, each time with new activities and ways to interact because it has so many options.  So if someone is getting the overall spelling level comprehension but not getting mastery and carry-over, then sometimes what they need is more use.  Could be smarter use (visualization and spelling backwards) or could be just plain MORE use (what I did with my dd).  AAS doesn't give them any of that, especially for that age of dc.  The sample sentences in AAS are extremely young and simplistic. I'm saying I can totally see where a person might find the methodology of AAS helpful but need some extras for more practice, more carryover. 

 

Also, this is super, extremely, duper nitpicky, but AAR pre was not in the correct order for phonological awareness development.  So the materials are great and going to work for some kids, but if a kid is a harder case and the mom's gut says something isn't right (not clicking, not the right order, not enough practice, why isn't this connecting) it could be the materials, not the kid.  I'm not meaning to slam them, because again I *liked* aspects of AAR pre a LOT.  I'm just saying it has those issues.  I'm super picky.  My boy is 5 and yesterday told me 7 was 8.  I'm starting to get freaky. (is that normal, is that plus the other things indicative of something, is this developmental or something I need to be intervening in a different way on, etc.)  When someone makes a program and gets things out of order developmentally, then the kids who struggle most are going to be affected by that error.  If the lady is saying AAS isn't cutting it, it really might not be.  It might be *salvageable* but that requires doing a bit of diagnostic testing and sorting out what's going on.  I think someone recently found some good diagnostic tests online that would give you grade levels.  Hopefully from that you can generate an overall and a mastery spelling score.  (overall=how many got right, mastery=how many till first missed)  Also get a reading diagnostic score.  I used the McCall-Crabbs books with my dd.  Then with some information and reflection, you can choose a path.  I do totally agree though that if AAS is working in aspects, stay put and just bolster up whatever *isn't* getting done.   :)

 

I have all four levels of AAS.. Well, HAD because I gave away the first couple of levels at the end of last year.  It might help to know that I have been trained in Orton-Gillingham methods so I don't find the program limiting at all.  It was part of our training to not move forward until a phoneme is mastered, and we were taught to use multiple means of presentation.  I forget that not all parents have had training nor do they realize that mastery of every phoneme is the key and expansion of the multisensory activities is easy to add-on.  So, yes, I completely agree that "the methodology of AAS helpful but need some extras for more practice, more carryover."

 

That said, I started with SWR and I HATED it.  It was after my O-G training, and I still found it confusing to follow and figure out.  It was a pain in the neck to me.  Being one who struggles with my own organization, I guess that is why I MUCH prefer AAS over SWR. 

 

As far as the order of presentation of the phonemes goes, there is no precise, singular order in which to present the phonemes.  Wilson, The Language Toolkit, The Writing Road to Reading, S.P.I.R.E., AAS, etc., use different orders.  I wholly agree there are more logical orders in which to present the phonemes and less logical ones, but it doesn't necessarily make a program incorrect.  The biggest key is to present all of the phonemes in some logical order, and I'm guessing the order in AAS isn't as overtly logical to you (You referenced AAR, so wasn't sure if the orders are the same across the programs or not--I haven't compared the two). 

 

You said, "If the lady is saying AAS isn't cutting it, it really might not be," and that could certainly be the case.  I was just pointing out an option for add-on practice, an alternate method, and pointing out the program is O-G based and might be worth continuing with.  If the phonemes are not being taught to mastery, that would be why the program isn't proving overly effective, but that can be addressed by continuing to practice to the point of mastery rather than moving forward simply because it's the next day or week. For Jaybee, her choice will depend upon whether she wants to add-on more practice and whether she wants a highly scripted program or not.

 

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I have all four levels of AAS.. Well, HAD because I gave away the first couple of levels at the end of last year.  It might help to know that I have been trained in Orton-Gillingham methods so I don't find the program limiting at all.  It was part of our training to not move forward until a phoneme is mastered, and we were taught to use multiple means of presentation.  I forget that not all parents have had training nor do they realize that mastery of every phoneme is the key and expansion of the multisensory activities is easy to add-on.  So, yes, I completely agree that "the methodology of AAS helpful but need some extras for more practice, more carryover."

 

That said, I started with SWR and I HATED it. 

Bingo, totally agree!  :)

 

So what were your favorite multi-sensory methods from your OG training?  I love hearing new methods, and my boy is a kinesthetic sponge...

 

Yes, SWR is a linear sequential mess.  Rippel started putting out the AAS levels a year behind where we were at the time, so it was just not what we needed.  Scads of people jumped over, just for the fabulous obviousness of it.  I agree though that if people open and go with it and don't learn more, they can have a situation where they need more and don't know how to get that or bring it in.  Learning SWR forced us to understand the method enough to teach and adapt.  Probably the only reason I got/understood SWR was because I don't start with it.   :lol:    bought WRTR when my dd was 4, got totally overwhelmed, THREW IT AT THE WALL (literally!) and left it there for 6 months. Then I decided I wasn't going to let some idiot book best me, so I picked it up and read till I got it.  Once you get WRTR, SWR is just an expansion.  I'm glad I got it for all the tools it gave me (and a great pricepoint!), but that was comfortable for me.  I totally agree that some people aren't comfortable with that.  I finally made a "Quick & Dirty Guide to Getting Started with SWR" that is available for free on lulu.  It helped bridge the issues people were having at that time.  Now AAS and the other spinoffs are so popular, you don't see so many questions about getting started with SWR.  I think Sanseri finally went back and added a few things to her manual as well to try to help.  She's a nice lady, just super sequential and not big picture at all.  

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We got "into" the large-body kinesthetic movements.  We have a traditional chalkboard hung at chest-level and colored chalks for writing the letters HUGE.  On another wall we have a standard whiteboard we used similarly.  We used foot writing in carpet (bare feet), velvet and felt for fingertip writing, as well as liquid soap in a pan.  Those were our mainstays.  What activities did you use?

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Ooo those are fabulous!!! Thanks for the tips!!!   :D  It's for ds.  Dd could just play games (file folder games, Mother May I style games, etc.) and have enough repetition and overlap over time and get there.  With ds, well he's much more kinesthetic.  He drives you into something kinesthetic (tossing beanbags while you recite, etc.) if you take it too traditional.  

 

Did your boys color?  Ds colors (which dd wouldn't do AT ALL), but he doesn't have much patience for it.  If I read aloud while he colors, he drifts.  Yesterday I tried color by number, but he still wants me to color on the page with him as well.   So the fine motor and vision are there to do it, even good posture and weightshifting onto the opposite arm, blah blah, he just doesn't stay engaged I guess.  He wouldn't watch Mr. Rogers at all, but now he will.  That is new, now that he's 5.  He still gets up to go do something when we relax and watch tv in the evenings.  Drives dh crazy, haha...  He'll even turn on an audiobook to listen to while he watches tv.   :lol:   He's my little what to make of him quandry.  With his speech still being a little off/hard compared to what he's trying to express, it's very hard to tell if he's frustrated, super bright and not being worked with enough, quite (insert your label) or behind/delayed and just not ready to attend, kwim?  And those would be totally different situations to deal with.  If he's much brighter than we realize, then we could ramp the academics up (in whatever way you do with a child who is this active, wowsers) and it might calm him by meeting that need.  It has gotten really bad since we backed off on ST. I think he has excess brain energy coming out.  He has seriously been driving us crazy.  We have another appt. scheduled, so that will help.  

 

 What's weird is that I'm reading to him some things that my dd didn't do until 1st or 2nd grade (Let's Read and Find Out Science level 2 books, we read in 1st, Rainbow Book of American History by Daugherty I think we read in 2nd or 3rd?) and he EATS IT UP.  But when you sit down and want to read, no click at all.  I'm trying to increase his practical usage of text to see what that might do for him.  He responds really well to the ipad.  Today I had him doing an app for pronoun usage that would read the sentences and show a picture, then you just tapped me vs. I.  So I might be able to tap into more of that.  I've been kind of nutty, letting him listen to all these german fairytale book apps I downloaded for free.  They're cool (and he's crazy for them), but I'm not sure german exposure in print or audio does him much good right now.   :lol:

 

So anyways, does any of that line up with how your boys were at that age?  Given the apraxia label, the ped told me to expect dyslexia.  It's just stupid hard for us to tell what is sensory, what is a delay, what is being bright but frustrated, kwim?  I mean I'd feel really dumb if we treated him like he was delayed and it turned out something totally the opposite, that he was super bright but frustrated.  You'll get things like me asking him to repeat xyz instructions, and he'll ask if he can use less words.  Even though the speech is there, it's always in the background as an issue, making things harder.  Makes it hard to sort out.  I wish I could go get just an IQ screening for a $100 and get some quick answers.  Maybe I can??

 

Oh, a year ago the SLP did some testing and told me to start doing K5 stuff with him or even first.  I did the MFW K5 (not all, but a good chunk), skipping the reading, and we did a fair chunk of the Saxon K5 math.  Thing is, you think of K5 as reading, not content.  Even my dd wasn't reading at this age, and I just see no click.  Two days ago he told me 7 was 8.  Whatever needs to be there isn't there yet.  But when you talk with him about the idea of commands vs. statements, he totally gets it and can interact with you.  I kid you not!  Newly 5!  So some things are definitely clicking in there...  I was doing that statement vs. command thing, because I was trying to slow him down and teach him how to give me the proper response.  He'll barge in with his statement when I gave him a command.  He can understand that distinction and rephrase it when I tell him to ask it as a question.  Oh yeah, lol. To me that means he's going to have a high verbal IQ, which means he won't get a dyslexia label.  Then I go back to my insanity, lol.

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 It's just stupid hard for us to tell what is sensory, what is a delay, what is being bright but frustrated, kwim?  I mean I'd feel really dumb if we treated him like he was delayed and it turned out something totally the opposite, that he was super bright but frustrated.

Yes, with one of my sons, he seemed exceptionally bright, soaking up info on one hand, but then he struggled immensely with the basic academic skills.  

 

A high verbal IQ will not keep your DS from getting a dyslexia label.  The hallmark characteristic of true dyslexia is a lack of phonemic awareness. There's a good chance your DS will have that with his apraxia issues regardless of any IQ measures.

 

With quote I clipped above, I'd recommend never treating him "like he is delayed" and always treat him as if he is "super bright but frustrated."  Given that he can understand the higher concepts, I'd guess there's a good chance he will have a decent IQ, but if he's like my DS, his early IQ measures will be depressed due to the existing LDs.  

 

The Good news?  My DS' IQ went up SIGNIFICANTLY through our years of homeschooling and remediation.  It wasn't that he was suddenly gifted, but rather that he ALWAYS was, but the descrepancy between his highest scores (at the 99th percentile) and his lowest scores (at the 2nd percentile) made him appear to be totally "average" in his first evaluation. By time we reached the end of our homeschooling, DS' low scores were in the mid-60th percentile range and his highs are still up at the 99th percentile. His IQ is quite high now, but even so, I still suspect it is pulled down some by his LD issues.

 

When I was writing my book about homeschooling Learning Abled Kids, I did a lot of research on the plasticity of IQ scores and it is proven that a child's IQ can go up by a significant margin (like 29 points) when the child has  learning disabilities and is properly taught.  You're wise to be working with your DS at the age of five.  Early intervention is also clearly a factor.

 

One thing to consider.. Far down the road, if your DS ever might attend college, you will want to establish a record of his LD issues as early as possible.  It's important to document disabilities BEFORE remediation because when a child goes to college, he may require accommodations that will not be granted if there is no current evidence of learning difficulties.  Most notably--as was the case for my DS--for a foreign language waiver. 

 

If your DS struggles to learn to read, then learns how, he'll look like a "typical" student by time he graduates from high school.  Having to learn a foreign language in college would be like starting all over again with the necessary remediation for learning to read, write, and spell in a whole new language. Having that early evidence of significant LD issues can equal a waiver, whereas a child who has NO documentation of LD issues may not be granted a waiver.  That usually means the individual can't pass the requirement.  That's just a heads up for you. ;-)

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THANKS,OneStepAtATime!  It's brand new (working on my third book now), so you are one of the first to own the title.  I'm supposed to get the proof copies of the print version next week.. That's a tedious back-and-forth process that usually takes about 4-6 weeks after the eVersion goes out.  Anyway, I really appreciate you grabbing a copy and feel FREE to ask any questions or give me your feedback.  I have no reviews on it yet and it would be nice to know if there are changes I need to make before it goes to print.. Once it's printed.. There it is!!

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THANKS,OneStepAtATime!  It's brand new (working on my third book now), so you are one of the first to own the title.  I'm supposed to get the proof copies of the print version next week.. That's a tedious back-and-forth process that usually takes about 4-6 weeks after the eVersion goes out.  Anyway, I really appreciate you grabbing a copy and feel FREE to ask any questions or give me your feedback.  I have no reviews on it yet and it would be nice to know if there are changes I need to make before it goes to print.. Once it's printed.. There it is!!

Chuckle, I will definitely give some feedback ASAP.  I read pretty quickly.  :)  

 

(Which was why I was in such shock when my kids really struggled.  Reading was like breathing to me.  I don't ever remember a time when I couldn't read because it just flowed so easily once I started.)

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"If the lady is saying AAS isn't cutting it, it really might not be.  It might be *salvageable* but that requires doing a bit of diagnostic testing and sorting out what's going on."

 

For some reason I WOKE UP thinking about this, and went to pull my AAS books because I thought, "Really, it should never be the case that AAS 'isn't cutting it' and a person shouldn't be in anything other than level one if it 'isn't' working."  What one must ask herself is whether the program isn't working or the implementation is not on target, and I thought I had read in AAS not to move forward until a phoneme is "mastered."

 

It says in bold print before you start the steps, "Each step contains a major concept that needs to be mastered by the student in order to form a strong foundation for spelling.  Each Step should be mastered before moving on to the next Step.  Schedule as many (or as few!) study sessions as your student need in order to understand the concept in each Step."

 

If one is using the program as designed, then the program should be working.  If a child has "mastered" a concept, he has it.  If he hasn't mastered it and you move on, then the concept is left behind and the program "fails," but it isn't really the program that is not working.. it is that the child has not been taught to the point of mastery of each concept.

 

That said, I think it is a common mistake that people make.. VERY COMMON.. and I think that is part of why reading resource programs in public schools are so ineffective.. They move at the pace of the teacher/program, not at the pace of each individual child's level of mastery.  The difference is critical.  If I hadn't had actual O-G training, I may not have understood what "mastery" looks like, so I think that is often the point where the breakdown occurs for most people.

 

Mastery is evidenced by instantaneous recall and easy use of the concept.  When a child automatically applies a concept without having to think about it, he has "mastered" it.  I woke up thinking maybe I should write a page about mastery on my website.. Think I'll do that sometime this weekend!! 

 

That said, Jaybee, I'm thinking you should not move forward with the other levels of AAS.  Depending upon how you think it might go, you might want to either back-up and insure mastery at each step.  You would do that by using multiple forms of teaching using different multi-sensory activities each time until each skill is mastered... OhElizabeth and I can help you walk through that process if you need additional help.  OR--if you think your child will have a hissy fit if you back up and repeat, you could switch programs to start something new and work to insure mastery as you go through that program.

 

SO SORRY too if that makes you feel badly--just know it is a very COMMON area of difficulty that parents have because they aren't trained to focus heavily on mastery.  Although it is in the book, I think the concept of "mastery" is often not stressed heavily enough to hammer it home.  As you move forward with lessons, it is easy to get goal-oriented about moving through x-number of levels this year or finishing a book by a certain timeframe, and the concept of mastery gets overlooked in the process. 

 

I send my hugs to you, Jaybee.. Feeling badly about the possibility of hurting your feelings, but also felt it better to be open about it rather than not say anything.  Otherwise, you might continue and whatever you chose to do next might also seem like it's not cutting it.  HUGS!!

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Chuckle, I will definitely give some feedback ASAP.  I read pretty quickly.   :)

 

(Which was why I was in such shock when my kids really struggled.  Reading was like breathing to me.  I don't ever remember a time when I couldn't read because it just flowed so easily once I started.)

 

I hear you! I like reading and read quite a bit, but that turned out to be a good thing given my guys' dyslexia.. at least I am able to teach them easily since it is an easy skill for me. ;-)

 

THANKS so much for your willingness to give feedback--LOL--If you think it's HORRIBLE, please private message me.. LOL!  ;-)  The nice thing about the epublishing is that I can change that book, resubmit it, have it reviewed, and the changes can be put up.  I hold my breath with the early reviews and take them seriously because they can make or break a book once it goes to print. 

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Interesting conversation. Sandy, you did not make me feel bad. I disagree that I do not need to continue ahead, however. It's just "with what" that was my question. The reason I disagree is because of how I am learning that my son works learning in general. He would get upset and bored stiff if I stopped moving ahead and camped out where we are for a bit. He seems to work better with moving ahead but continuing to pound on the concepts that were behind where we are. In math, for example. I just wondered if AAS was worth continuing in that path. The reading evaluation was done before we started AAS. 

 

Thank you, ladies. 

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Interesting conversation. Sandy, you did not make me feel bad. I disagree that I do not need to continue ahead, however. It's just "with what" that was my question. The reason I disagree is because of how I am learning that my son works learning in general. He would get upset and bored stiff if I stopped moving ahead and camped out where we are for a bit. He seems to work better with moving ahead but continuing to pound on the concepts that were behind where we are. In math, for example. I just wondered if AAS was worth continuing in that path. The reading evaluation was done before we started AAS. 

 

Thank you, ladies. 

I understand what you mean.  My kids HATE taking a long time on something and feeling like they are either going backwards or stagnating.  They want to feel like they are progressing and are far more motivated if they think we are moving forward at a pretty good pace.  What I ended up having to do with Barton was change up the lessons a bit, do games, etc. so it seemed like we were moving on, but we were really reviewing a lot until concepts were mastered for each lesson.  

 

I am setting us up to do that again in more detail at the end of our current level since I think certain things are still tripping them up a bit.  After a few days of review (that hopefully will still look like we are progressing with additional lessons, not just reviewing and reviewing) I will administer the post test but in smaller chunks over a couple of days so it won't be a "test" for them, but another lesson.  

 

If they do well, I can surprise them with the announcement that they finished our current level and we are moving on to the next Level in a few days.  We will have a small celebration and take a little break before beginning the next level.  If they don't do well, they won't see the results and they won't be expecting any since nothing is graded in Barton.  I will create additional lessons that seem like we are still moving forward in our current Level (not going backwards or stalling) and we will do more lessons until the concepts are finally mastered.  They won't know we are supposed to be done with the level but are actually having to go back and review the area or areas they still haven't quite mastered.  Afterwards, I will reassess and hopefully we will move forward at that point without them really knowing we were having to go back.

 

I don't know if you can do that with AAS or would have any interest?  

 

Oh, and in another subject, I cut off the spines of the TM and the SM and put them in binders without the grade level reference visible on anything so that my daughter, especially, would not be embarrassed that she is working below what a public school would determine her level is supposed to be.  I make sure she sees she is progressing (and my son, too) and if we have to do a lot of review, I try really hard to make certain it isn't obvious, that it just is another part of the curriculum...If she were ever to ask, I would tell her.  I won't lie.  But if the grade level is never mentioned, and she never asks, then she doesn't need to worry about it or feel badly.  It also makes it easier to use the Teacher Manuals and Student Manuals since they lay flat and I can remove pages for portability if we have to go to the Drs, etc. and need something to do or don't want to get behind.

 

Not sure any of that is useful but I thought I would share.  Good luck!

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One of the things we did as an add-on practice, which may help solidify concepts for your ds, is to use http://lexiaathome.com/ for extra practice each day.  My guys went through the whole Lexia program in it's entirety, then I had them redo the second half-ish of the program to help solidify the more advanced skills with syllables.  Since it's a computer-based program, we would do our face-to-face lessons, then they'd go work on the program for 30-minutes each day.  The good thing about the program is that it is mastery-based, so it periodically re-assesses concepts, and tosses them back into the mix if the student misses the re-test.  It provides enough variety at each session that it isn't like staying on the same thing repeatedly and it doesn't waste time on teaching anything the child can correctly respond to with relative frequency. 

 

If you like the AAS program itself and continue with AAS, adding on Lexia can be one way to add in additional teaching without your child feeling like he's stagnating or backing up.  If you explain that there will be some review, but it'll move beyond the stuff he knows already, it might be a good option. 

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Were you really able to get a foreign language waiver? How about the foreign language necessary for entrance into college? Did it hurt admissions chances for your boys?

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Yes, my DS was really able to get a foreign language waiver in college.  He had to take "culturally-based" coursework in lieu of the FL, so he took anthropology courses up through an equivalent (second year) level required of foreign language.  We had extensive documentation and an up-to-date comprehensive neuro-psychological evaluation that detailed the extent of DS' language-based disabilities. The college actually gave us far MORE than we asked for in the way of accommodations--and actually insisted on giving DS audio versions of all of his textbooks even though DS could read and didn't feel like he needed them any more.  The college wanted him to have them so he could listen to the new terminology for his major and know what the words actually are instead of thinking he might have figured out how to pronounce them.

 

What we did for FL in high school was work through Latin using Cambridge Latin with the eLearning DVD (for audio-visual) and Rosetta Stone for our platforms, and DS was able to go through those (painfully so) to earn the equivalent of two years of high school FL in Latin.  It took him longer than it takes most kids, I gave him accommodations for spelling and for conjugations.  For preliminary work, we used the second two levels of LexiaReading at Home (which includes Greek and Latin roots) as well as Critical Thinking's Word Roots (all levels).  Earning passing grades was more difficult than for any other subject, but we were able to take the Latin more at DS' pace and get them done. 

 

For my son, it was between Latin or American Sign Language for the choices because we thought he might be able to work his way through one of those.  Our neuropsych said French is the absolute worst language a child with severe dyslexia could try to learn.  ASL or Latin are the "easiest" and German or Spanish are the next easiest due to the similar Latin root structure.  Beyond that.. other languages would be similar to learning to read and write in English and would require the comprehensive, multisensory, Orton-Gillingham type of instruction to reach any degree of fluency with the language.  DS chose Latin over ASL because he is going into a scientific field and he felt the Latin roots would be beneficial in his college studies.

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Were you really able to get a foreign language waiver? How about the foreign language necessary for entrance into college? Did it hurt admissions chances for your boys?

Although I don't know anyone personally that has done this around my area, I have read several parents' responses to this issue that have posted they were able to get foreign language waivers for high school and/or college, depending on the state, the high school, the college, what evaluations they got to prove they needed the waiver, how hard they advocated, etc.  With some colleges and universities that are especially up on current research regarding certain learning issues, the foreign language credit just isn't that important if it means that a student well suited to their school otherwise just can't get in without the waiver (such as some Engineering schools, apparently).

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With some colleges and universities that are especially up on current research regarding certain learning issues, the foreign language credit just isn't that important if it means that a student well suited to their school otherwise just can't get in without the waiver (such as some Engineering schools, apparently).

 

I wish they were ALL up on it!! My youngest's very FIRST college requirement was to find one that did NOT require FL.  He absolutely HATED taking one in high school and it was very difficult for him.  So, his choice was to seek out colleges that do not have FL requirements (at least for the majors he was contemplating).  My oldest is going into a scientific field, yet they have a a FL requirement.  Thankfully, his college is very accommodating, but not all of them are. One we dealt with for dual enrollment was AWFUL and even thought my DS didn't need ANY accommodations which truly baffled me!! I thought, "What rock did they pull this disabilities coordinator out from under?"  She was totally clueless, IMHO.  Consequently, when we went visiting colleges, we went to every single college's disabilities office to feel out the climate there and that was very eye-opening.  I recommend it to anyone.  You'll encounter some of the most understanding people on the planet and some of the most condescendingly rude people in some offices too.

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Interesting conversation. Sandy, you did not make me feel bad. I disagree that I do not need to continue ahead, however. It's just "with what" that was my question. The reason I disagree is because of how I am learning that my son works learning in general. He would get upset and bored stiff if I stopped moving ahead and camped out where we are for a bit. He seems to work better with moving ahead but continuing to pound on the concepts that were behind where we are. In math, for example. I just wondered if AAS was worth continuing in that path. The reading evaluation was done before we started AAS. 

 

Thank you, ladies. 

You aren't the only one to have this opinion.  Sanseri (of SWR) advices people to keep a brisk pace.  Some kids need to see the big picture, so for some kids when you pick up the pace and go FASTER things finally gel.  It's when it's trickled out slowly and sequentially that some kids can't pull it together.  Go figure.  She also says to go for mastery though, but she gets there by overlap year after year, rather than camping out at one place.  My dd was never going to understand or analyze her way into spelling either.  It's fascinating to me that some kids would.  The overlap of year after year done different ways worked out well for her.

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I wish they were ALL up on it!! My youngest's very FIRST college requirement was to find one that did NOT require FL.  He absolutely HATED taking one in high school and it was very difficult for him.  So, his choice was to seek out colleges that do not have FL requirements (at least for the majors he was contemplating).  My oldest is going into a scientific field, yet they have a a FL requirement.  Thankfully, his college is very accommodating, but not all of them are. One we dealt with for dual enrollment was AWFUL and even thought my DS didn't need ANY accommodations which truly baffled me!! I thought, "What rock did they pull this disabilities coordinator out from under?"  She was totally clueless, IMHO.  Consequently, when we went visiting colleges, we went to every single college's disabilities office to feel out the climate there and that was very eye-opening.  I recommend it to anyone.  You'll encounter some of the most understanding people on the planet and some of the most condescendingly rude people in some offices too.

Sadly, there is still a tremendous amount of misinformation coupled with a whole lot of NO information among academic professionals regarding how our brains work.  The scientific community and the academic community just aren't working together very effectively to improve our understanding of how people learn.  I think we have probably all encountered this on a regular basis with laymen, but you would hope that academic professionals who are responsible for those with learning differences would be better trained and more informed...

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