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Would Apples & Pears be a good choice for CAPD vs. AAS?

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Hi all:


I am currently working through AAS2 with daughter, age 9, CAPD diagnosis, namely expressive language disorder.  She does well in the lessons but it does not translate into her other work.  No matter how many times I try to encourage her to use her rules (which she can recite on command), break words into syllables, etc., she still struggles spelling basic words.


I have been looking at Apples & Pears and am wondering if this might be an option for her.  Before I jump ship I am looking for any thoughts or feedback.


Thank you, as always, for your support.



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I find that even many kids who don't struggle with CAPD and Dyslexia will struggle with spelling in their writing at this early stage. This article on AALP may have some ideas for you: Auditory Processing Disorder: How can I help my child? 


(Or for a little bit of humor in your day, you can read on my blog about how I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how "forgetting a plate" had anything to do with how my daughter felt one day...)


She's basically still a baby writer (remember baby speakers--they leave out sounds, say sounds wrong, point to things--and we think it's adorable!) Outside writing is a much, much more difficult task than writing words or dictations, and she may not be ready for much yet. There are so many things to think about at once with writing, and young students haven't learned most of the words they can think of. Sometimes it's all they can do to try to not lose their thought as they try to find some way of getting it onto paper. I would work on automaticity through the cards and dictations mainly (and the writing station exercises in level 3--they are an excellent bridge between dictation and outside writing), and then as she gets the hang of editing there, you can add in some editing of outside work.


With spelling, there are layers of mastery that are progressively more difficult:
-Spelling in the context of the list with tiles is easiest–words all follow the same pattern
-Spelling the list in writing can challenge some students who have to work hard at handwriting.
-Spelling from word cards (shuffled to mix the patterns) is slightly harder, but students still only have to focus on spelling
-Spelling in dictation is another step harder–many words using differing patterns are used, and the student has to hold the sentence in memory, and also think about capitalization and punctuation.
-Writing Station exercises (introduced in Level 3) focus on words the student has learned, but ask the student to come up with original content, which requires additional skills to be used. These serve as a bridge between dictation and spelling in the context of outside writing.
-Outside writing–this is the hardest level for the student. It requires them to think about all writing skills at once-grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, usage rules, syntax, handwriting and neatness, paragraph rules–plus content, organization of their thoughts, getting answers correct or being creative, and so on.
“Word Analysis†is added starting in Level 3 to get children to think more about why words are spelled the way they are–to think about which techniques they need to use.  Does this word follow certain rules?  Is there more than one spelling choice that could work? Do I have to learn this one visually and use methods like scratch-paper spelling?  Do syllable rules or suffix rules apply?  and so on.
Use the dictations and Writing Station exercises to teach basic editing skills–how to look for errors and how to think through how to correct them. Even professional writers need proofreaders, so elementary students definitely need ongoing training in this area. This article on Helping Kids Achieve Automaticity in Spelling has some tips that I think you’ll find helpful.


I did find that it's worth it to "pick and choose" your focus though. Not everything needs to be polished. If the purpose of an assignment is to answer questions about science or history, let spelling go. Make note of errors she makes that relate to skills she has already learned, and bring that word and concept into her next spelling lesson review time. But trying to focus on too much at once for a young child is really overwhelming. It does eventually come together, but at a later stage for these kids with learning difficulties. 


If you have a chance, I also really liked the 5-part series Marie did on memory issues, starting with the Funnel Concept. (she also has Making It Stick, Improving Working Memory etc... linked at the bottom). The articles really helped me rethink how we schooled for all of our subjects.


HTH some! 


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We tried AAS and it bombed. A&P is the only program that's worked and that Geezle has tolerated long term. We've used it for 4 years and he's half way through C. He has had to back up many times, but he keeps plugging away at it. His spelling has improved to the point that I can figure out what he's writing and he can google on his own.

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CAPD with oral and written language  expression disorder over here...Apples and Pears  is working.  We are finishing up level C and I just bought Level D. She is now 14 and I have been using this since she was 9. We did not rush through the levels. If she didn't pass, we followed the protocol set forth by the manual. The layout and ease of instruction is a win-win for both student and parent. 

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Merry, thank you so much for your detailed response.  It is helpful and I have spent some time reading the links you have provided and I will continue to ponder her options.


If I am being truthful, I almost didn't want to hear that A&P was a great option for her because I do love AAS personally. However, I truly appreciate the responses I have received about the successes from those of you that share my struggle.  I think at this point, I will at least give her the placement tests. I would be remiss to ignore the advice I have been given.  Anyone have a copy of set A they are looking to unload?


Thank you again for all your help.





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