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NorthernBeth

writing resources for reluctant 7th grade writer?

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We are having a few problems with our grade 7 year in public school, and I am just wondering what writing resources you have used that worked for you. 

I just had a meeting with ds grade 7 teacher and she mentioned something I have noticed before and we have worked on a LOT but still seems to plague him.  In his writing, he usually answers a question with just the predicate part of  a sentence and leaves off the subject.  He will sometimes add a subject with prompting, but sometimes can't think of the subject.  If you just asked him to make up a sentence on his own ( unrelated to any question or topic), he would use a subject.  But despite a lot of prompting and discussion on this topic, he just either doesn't get it or doesn't do it consistently. If you wanted him to just make up a sentence on his own it would usually include a subject, but not when responding to a question on a topic he just read about.

His writing also comes off very strangely as they encourage him to rely onthe computer's predictive software for writing. However, as he is not a great reader, he will often just choose whatever word the computer offers, and not realize it is not the word he wants and does not make a lot of sense. This sometimes results in sentences that appear like gibberish. Then he goes back and it doesn't make any sense to him so he just starts writing all over again. Or adds-on new sentences without fixing the original writing. I requested that they try using a text to speech program instead, but as he has speech difficulties, this can also result in gibberish. I know we tried to use Dragon Speaking Naturally at home and could not really get it to work properly.  The teacher said she would look into it.  

He has a lot of difficulty writing a summary paragraph on what he reads ( although in my opinion, what they have him reading is way too high--- they think that simply having the text to speech reader reading it to him compensates for that issue but it really doesn't. )  His sentences appear somewhat unconnected to each other or seem to change topic in the middle of the sentence and he doesn't seem to notice it.  The lack of concrete nouns and overreliance on the pronoun "it" just makes this lack of coherence worse.

I don't have a lot of faith that his teacher is going to do anything to really help with this situation.  Simply reminding him to "write in a complete sentence" as his teacher did during the meeting is not going to be successful .  I think we are going to have to supplement at home to make some progress in this area. 

Ds is in grade 7.  He is a poor reader-- about grade3 level, but an even worse speller.  This makes writing pure torture for him. He is borderline intellectually delayed and has limited interests- pokemon, ninjago, cats, and other animals.  He can talk your ear off on a topic that interests him, but it can be like pulling teeth to get any commentary on a topic he does not find interesting ( which would certainly include most school subjects). In his speech, he over-relies on pronouns,  has trouble with sequencing, and can have difficulty with conveying the main idea of a topic. These issues definitely carry over into his writing.  

So what have you used that involves writing that is responding to a topic ( rather than self-generated) and systematically shows a student how to build a one sentence answer or short paragraph answer?  If it also was interesting and did not result in screaming or tears at the thought of using it, that would be an added bonus.  

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Diane Craft has two videos "Smart kids who hate to write" and Right brain paragraph and composition writing". I plan on watching those this week as I bought them a year ago before I was sidetracked.  I look forward to what others might say on the subject. 

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It sounds like there may be multiple issues hindering the writing process for him, and I agree that he would benefit from systematic instruction on techniques he can apply consistently to his writing.

For answering questions in writing, DS's intervention specialist at school taught him to always start his sentence by rephrasing the question. So if the the question says, "Why do the leaves on the trees turn colors in the fall," DS was taught to write, "The leaves on the trees turn colors in the fall because...." They practiced this until he could do it independently and consistently. IT doesn't make for stellar writing, but it gets the information across.

For other kinds of composition, I wonder if teaching him to use key words would help, as in the IEW writing program. And using simple graphic organizers to help him prepare his main ideas and details before he writes his sentences. DS14 has the use of graphic organizers specified in his IEP.

Edited by Storygirl
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1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

For answering questions in writing, DS's intervention specialist at school taught him to always start his sentence by rephrasing the question. So if the the question says, "Why do the leaves on the trees turn colors in the fall," DS was taught to write, "The leaves on the trees turn colors in the fall because...." They practiced this until he could do it independently and consistently. IT doesn't make for stellar writing, but it gets the information across.

For other kinds of composition, I wonder if teaching him to use key words would help, as in the IEW writing program. 

Yes, I was eyeballing the IEW program and wondering whether that would work for him.  He seems to struggle with the "rephrase the question thing", as we have worked on it too.  We honestly spent ALL of last year working on writing a complete sentence with a period and capital letter with his speech-language pathologist.  

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So the SLP acknowledges he had language issues but the SLP doesn't actually get WHY or what to do about it. And what is your ds' diagnosis? It's a language problem that is showing up in his writing, not a writing problem. My ds has ASD, and he memorized language, whole to parts, rather than parts to whole. So the parts of language didn't MEAN anything to him, so it didn't matter whether he had them or not. We had to go through all the elements of language to give them meaning, even though he was verbal. 

There's actually a test for it btw, the SPELT (structured photographic expressive language test). It doesn't provide models, so kids who are good at imitation can't fake it out. It's only normed to about 11 because at that point basically all kids should be passing it, 100%. https://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=tm509 

So yeah, we've gone through a bunch of SLPs already. They don't enjoy syntax, know squat about developing language seemingly, and they don't get it done. Maybe some kids, some cases, but not this harder stuff, not with a situation like ours. I've got a whole thread going (narration) where I've been talking about stuff we're doing. If you want to get seemingly nitpicky, you actually end up backing up to feature/function/class, which is stuff they skip in kids who don't get ABA, because they figure they don't need it. The SLPs will call it categories, attributes, etc. http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10323  Look at this series. I had my ds read EVERYTHING ON THE PAGE aloud, and anywhere he could be compelled he had to answer in complete sentences. So if it would allow for yes/no, sorry we made complete sentences.

Attributes are adjectives. Functions are verbs. Categories help them understand nouns. So backing WAY UP let him rebuild the reason the syntax was glitched. It doesn't take that long to remediate in the scheme of things. I really went overkill, and I think we spent 2-3 hours a day and in maybe 6-9 weeks got through the bulk of it. Then we were ready to start grammar and syntax. So that foundational stuff (attributes, categories, etc.) is called "vocabulary" in the SLP world. You can say well his vocabulary is fine, but it's how the language is organized and processed. Then you work on "syntax" which is how those words relate together to form sentences. If you go in that order, you're building the foundation. And if he can do all that (using attributes and categories, etc.) in complete sentences, then fine. I used a book 100% Vocabulary: Primary: Vicki Rothstein: 9780760601853: Amazon ...https://www.amazon.com/100-Vocabulary-Primary-Vicki-Rothstein/dp/0760601852 that was utterly brilliant. I have the secondary level also and if you think that the primary level of these skills is too easy, sure run him thrugh the secondary book instead. That would let you screen quickly and find the holes.

So yes, the syntax and vocabulary issues will hold back his reading just as much as the decoding. There's also a really good series by a different Rothstein Power Books: Syntax Ages 8-11 – Rothstein Speech Pathologyrothsteinspeech.com › Power Books: Syntax Ages 8-11 that I'm just starting with my ds and like a lot. It's not the be all end all, but it's something. But DON'T start there. If there's a significant language disability, start by making sure he recognizes words as words, which is that "vocabulary" level. Then, when the skills for vocabulary are solid, then you proceed to syntax.

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7 hours ago, NorthernBeth said:

We are having a few problems with our grade 7 year in public school, and I am just wondering what writing resources you have used that worked for you. 

I just had a meeting with ds grade 7 teacher and she mentioned something I have noticed before and we have worked on a LOT but still seems to plague him.  In his writing, he usually answers a question with just the predicate part of  a sentence and leaves off the subject.  He will sometimes add a subject with prompting, but sometimes can't think of the subject.  If you just asked him to make up a sentence on his own ( unrelated to any question or topic), he would use a subject.  But despite a lot of prompting and discussion on this topic, he just either doesn't get it or doesn't do it consistently. If you wanted him to just make up a sentence on his own it would usually include a subject, but not when responding to a question on a topic he just read about.

I think Storygirl's suggestion could help with this, but I would also suggest having direct grammar instruction on this where he has to write sentences that contain certain grammatic structures. I think there is often a big delay between understanding something in isolation in grammar (that every sentence needs a subject and predicate) and having it show up in writing. And noticing it needs to be fixed is a whole other thing too.

Quote

His writing also comes off very strangely as they encourage him to rely onthe computer's predictive software for writing. However, as he is not a great reader, he will often just choose whatever word the computer offers, and not realize it is not the word he wants and does not make a lot of sense. This sometimes results in sentences that appear like gibberish. Then he goes back and it doesn't make any sense to him so he just starts writing all over again. Or adds-on new sentences without fixing the original writing. I requested that they try using a text to speech program instead, but as he has speech difficulties, this can also result in gibberish. I know we tried to use Dragon Speaking Naturally at home and could not really get it to work properly.  The teacher said she would look into it.  

I would kind of go ballistic that they are using the predictive software. It's just going to make things worse in the long run--create bad habits. I'd make that a hill to die on. 

Quote

He has a lot of difficulty writing a summary paragraph on what he reads ( although in my opinion, what they have him reading is way too high--- they think that simply having the text to speech reader reading it to him compensates for that issue but it really doesn't. )  His sentences appear somewhat unconnected to each other or seem to change topic in the middle of the sentence and he doesn't seem to notice it.  The lack of concrete nouns and overreliance on the pronoun "it" just makes this lack of coherence worse.

He can talk your ear off on a topic that interests him, but it can be like pulling teeth to get any commentary on a topic he does not find interesting ( which would certainly include most school subjects). In his speech, he over-relies on pronouns,  has trouble with sequencing, and can have difficulty with conveying the main idea of a topic. These issues definitely carry over into his writing.  

So what have you used that involves writing that is responding to a topic ( rather than self-generated) and systematically shows a student how to build a one sentence answer or short paragraph answer?  If it also was interesting and did not result in screaming or tears at the thought of using it, that would be an added bonus.  

So, one on topic answer--a packet from the TpT store called I'm Lovin' Lit. She has some stuff on writing paragraphs and responding to prompts.

One answer that is therapy--Story Grammar Marker with extra work on the side for things that are difficult. That could be the extra autism books (not just for kids with autism--they break down the less obvious stuff). There is a whole thread on narrative development on the boards that has good information. 

Being unable to pare things down to important details or recognize organizational structure really hampers writing, and SGM works on that. 

Edited by kbutton

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16 hours ago, PeterPan said:

So the SLP acknowledges he had language issues but the SLP doesn't actually get WHY or what to do about it. And what is your ds' diagnosis? It's a language problem that is showing up in his writing, not a writing problem. My ds has ASD, and he memorized language, whole to parts, rather than parts to whole. So the parts of language didn't MEAN anything to him, so it didn't matter whether he had them or not. We had to go through all the elements of language to give them meaning, even though he was verbal. Yes, as I was thinking this over last night, I suddenly realized that it was not just an isolated writing problem as I have been thinking about it, on the ;basis that his casual speech sounds fine.  It is that in that extremely structured question answer format, he does not quite get the structure.  I need to back up and work on the speech.  I totally don't get why the SLP is not seeing these things---maybe because he can talk up a storm on a topic that interests him, so they attribute any issues as "lack of interest= lack of attention= ADHD thing". 

His diagnosis are multiple but all in categories that the school doesn't "count" as diagnosis--- he has Borderline Intellecutal Disability= Slow Learner which does not get support in our system.  He has a diagnosis of ADHD which I would consider a behavioural diagnosis but which is not counted educationally in our province ( 1 of the 3 provinces which do not recognize ADHD as a diability)  He has sensory processing issues which also don't count as a disability ( althougth they do provide some accomodation.)  He also is diagnosed as having mild receptive language processing issues, but moderate expressive language processing issues. But this was diagnoses privately-- although they have the report.  This SHOULD be recognized and counted.  As I write this I realize I may need to try to get the SLP who did that diagnosis call or write a letter to the school emphasizing that he really needs support.  So to my mind, he has multiple diagnosis-- but to our school system, they are saying he has nothing.  

There's actually a test for it btw, the SPELT (structured photographic expressive language test). It doesn't provide models, so kids who are good at imitation can't fake it out. It's only normed to about 11 because at that point basically all kids should be passing it, 100%. https://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=tm509 

I will talk to the private SLP and see if she has it and can run it.

So yeah, we've gone through a bunch of SLPs already. They don't enjoy syntax, know squat about developing language seemingly, and they don't get it done. Maybe some kids, some cases, but not this harder stuff, not with a situation like ours. I've got a whole thread going (narration) where I've been talking about stuff we're doing. If you want to get seemingly nitpicky, you actually end up backing up to feature/function/class, which is stuff they skip in kids who don't get ABA, because they figure they don't need it.

Yes, this--- I get super glib answers and people basically saying we prefer to work with younger kids, we have more success with younger kids, and yes I get that, but you can't just write him off because he is 12. He can still learn, he just does it slowly.

The SLPs will call it categories, attributes, etc. http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10323  Look at this series. I had my ds read EVERYTHING ON THE PAGE aloud, and anywhere he could be compelled he had to answer in complete sentences. So if it would allow for yes/no, sorry we made complete sentences.

Attributes are adjectives. Functions are verbs. Categories help them understand nouns. So backing WAY UP let him rebuild the reason the syntax was glitched. It doesn't take that long to remediate in the scheme of things. I really went overkill, and I think we spent 2-3 hours a day and in maybe 6-9 weeks got through the bulk of it. Then we were ready to start grammar and syntax. So that foundational stuff (attributes, categories, etc.) is called "vocabulary" in the SLP world. You can say well his vocabulary is fine, but it's how the language is organized and processed. Then you work on "syntax" which is how those words relate together to form sentences. If you go in that order, you're building the foundation. And if he can do all that (using attributes and categories, etc.) in complete sentences, then fine. I used a book 100% Vocabulary: Primary: Vicki Rothstein: 9780760601853: Amazon ...https://www.amazon.com/100-Vocabulary-Primary-Vicki-Rothstein/dp/0760601852 that was utterly brilliant. I have the secondary level also and if you think that the primary level of these skills is too easy, sure run him thrugh the secondary book instead. That would let you screen quickly and find the holes.

Awesome, I will get this-- i had actually just ordered the book you mentioned down below, but I can get the introductory level first if that is needed. 

So yes, the syntax and vocabulary issues will hold back his reading just as much as the decoding. There's also a really good series by a different Rothstein Power Books: Syntax Ages 8-11 – Rothstein Speech Pathologyrothsteinspeech.com › Power Books: Syntax Ages 8-11 that I'm just starting with my ds and like a lot. It's not the be all end all, but it's something. But DON'T start there. If there's a significant language disability, start by making sure he recognizes words as words, which is that "vocabulary" level. Then, when the skills for vocabulary are solid, then you proceed to syntax.

 

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16 hours ago, kbutton said:

I would kind of go ballistic that they are using the predictive software. It's just going to make things worse in the long run--create bad habits. I'd make that a hill to die on. 

The problem is that the only 2 schools that exist in my area both use this as their "go-to" solution for kids with writing problems.  They seem to feel any obejctions are just old-fashioned, and that this is the hip, modern way to do it.  If it worked, I would be fine with it, although I don't like it-- but with a kid who is a poor reader, it actually does not work, but they don't really want to acknowledge this.  If I could get him an EA, I could insist on someone scribing, but because in their minds, he has no disability, therefore he does not "deserve" an EA, even though they acknowledge that without help, he will essentially do nothing, or write gibberish quickly and consider it done.  

 

16 hours ago, kbutton said:

So, one on topic answer--a packet from the TpT store called I'm Lovin' Lit. She has some stuff on writing paragraphs and responding to prompts.

One answer that is therapy--Story Grammar Marker with extra work on the side for things that are difficult. That could be the extra autism books (not just for kids with autism--they break down the less obvious stuff). There is a whole thread on narrative development on the boards that has good information. 

Being unable to pare things down to important details or recognize organizational structure really hampers writing, and SGM works on that. 

Thank-you for these suggestions.  When I got to the end of your post and read, " unable to.... recognize organization structure" that just jumped out at me.  He often can't recognize organizational structures of any kind, OF COURSE, this would make writing hard.  I have been totally thinking of this as an isolated" I hate to write and spell", and suddenly reading you and  PeterPan, it becomes so obvious that it is really bigger than that which is why we have had so little success with it despite working on it so hard.  

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kbutton, 

Are you meaning this store?

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Lovin-Lit

or this store?

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Im-Lovin-It

They both have stuff on writing, so I am just trying to make sure I grab the right thing.

oh- wait--- is this the item you were thinking of?  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Interactive-Notebooks-Writing-Activities-Interactive-Writing-Notebook-878678  I actually own this, but haven't used it for a few years, and had forgotten about it!

 

Edited by NorthernBeth
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2 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

He also is diagnosed as having mild receptive language processing issues, but moderate expressive language processing issues.

Well there you go. His language disability is now showing up in his writing.

2 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

I totally don't get why the SLP is not seeing these things

Not seeing or not wanting to treat? ;)  He's already diagnosed, so someone saw it. They could update the testing. They don't treat it because they don't get the hours, don't like language, don't want to prep custom work. Don't get me on a rant. When you dig in, basically it's tedious, requires custom work (prep time), and involves their least favorite topic (syntax). There's a lot of evidence base for contextualized work (using a book or something as a starting point), but that doesn't really address their need for explicit instruction. I am struggling even to FIND excellent materials for this. That's why I started my threads to catalog stuff, because I want people to be able to retrace my steps.

These are the hardest situations and expectations are very low. The goals drop off the IEP and the system just moves on. If you want something to happen, you may have to do it yourself. On the plus side, as a veteran homeschooler you're probably more qualified and more knowledgeable on the topic than an SLP.

20 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

Yes, this--- I get super glib answers and people basically saying we prefer to work with younger kids, we have more success with younger kids, and yes I get that, but you can't just write him off because he is 12. He can still learn, he just does it slowly.

There's also IQ referencing, which they are NOT supposed to do but in reality do. Think about it. He was given a traditional IQ test (largely verbal) when he was diagnosed with a language disability. My ds' IQ dropped *30 points* from test administrations doing testing like that. So what's to say that his ability isn't more in the average range and that the IQ they got was reflecting his language disability? I've been wanting a non-verbal IQ test done on my ds to see what would happen there. I just know I'm not going to ignore what I KNOW about him based on whimsical shifts in IQ scores.

Have you ever wondered about ASD for him? It sounds like the pattern you're fitting, and it would pull all the pieces together. 

The video previews for this course connected a lot of dots for me on language and why my ds was getting the overall of language but not the parts. Ignore the labels and just ponder the concepts, if that makes sense. https://www.northernspeech.com/apraxia-cas/natural-language-acquisition-in-autism-echolalia-to-self-generated-language-level-1/

26 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

Awesome, I will get this-- i had actually just ordered the book you mentioned down below, but I can get the introductory level first if that is needed. 

I'm glad you feel confident ordering materials and using them with him! This stuff is not really hard to do, and my advice is proceed forward even if you're imperfect. If you do it imperfectly, you still did it. I do suggest you go through the topics for "vocabulary" before beginning syntax. My ds got astonishing change by working on vocabulary, because he was not processing at the word level. We had to make every word have meaning. I also really like the SPARC series, including http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10178 and http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10001  My ds *understood* these things receptively, but there was still this glitchy oddness about how he used them. The SPARC books isolated each concept and forced him to use them and having meaning to the words as individual words, not as memorized chunks of language. So if he was used to using "I" or "he" or any word in phrases, it moved him to understanding them as single words. And once he started understanding individual words as individual words (not parts of larger memorized phrases/sentences/paragraphs), then he started realizing words had parts, ie spelling and morphology.

So you'll see people saying spelling didn't seem to click or seem necessary or like they didn't get it even though you had them spelling, and I think that's why. It is a way the language issues show up. So working on making every single word mean something made all kinds of stuff work better I wouldn't have expected. And the SPARC books are brilliant because they go from phrases to sentences to using the things in narratives. So when you are realizing he can't get out good narratives, well we need him to use the thing across all those settings. 

And maybe your ds doesn't need all that, lol. My ds did, and it's sorta fun once you finally get in the loop and get materials. I suggest you just dig in and see what you think about where the holes are. You are probably quite qualified to have an opinion on that, because you know him, know all the language he uses, and can see how he responds. Like print off the previews for the books like the SPARC stuff and try it. Can he do those things easily? If he can't, then there you go.

 

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22 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

The problem is that the only 2 schools that exist in my area both use this as their "go-to" solution for kids with writing problems. 

If they don't own and run narrative language testing (or do informal testing, which an SLP is qualified/trained to do), then they feel guilt-free about pushing for the fruit and not addressing the underlying reasons for the problems.

Just as a suggestion, have you looked at Cooking to Learn? Might be fun for you over a break or something, doing a project a day. You can see the samples. No matter how you work on narrative language, you may find you need to go back to that hands-on, experiential, high support. The SPARC units are supporting with pictures, but doing it in real life is another type of support. So instead of having him write about some abstract thing, he may need to write about something he did and have higher supports. He may need some pre-loading of the language or some structures that help him use first/next/last, etc. The SPARC books also work on concept words like that.

 

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This is SKILL that I'm using with my ds. You might like it. http://rgs.usu.edu/techtransfer/skill/

You can teach the narrative structures and then apply them to expository right away. This first link has a chart showing how. So like teach character and setting and then do descriptions. Teach actions and now you do lists and sequences. And so on. Lots of free good stuff on the MW site, so dig in, watch the videos, etc. And it was Moreau of MW that I talked with who said start with that hands-on, really doing it, write about what they're really doing, something concrete. 

https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/36161281-new-common-core-book-and-free-lesson

https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/46846209-expository-my-research-cut-and-fold-booklet

 

Edited by PeterPan

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36 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

The problem is that the only 2 schools that exist in my area both use this as their "go-to" solution for kids with writing problems.  They seem to feel any obejctions are just old-fashioned, and that this is the hip, modern way to do it.  If it worked, I would be fine with it, although I don't like it-- but with a kid who is a poor reader, it actually does not work, but they don't really want to acknowledge this.  If I could get him an EA, I could insist on someone scribing, but because in their minds, he has no disability, therefore he does not "deserve" an EA, even though they acknowledge that without help, he will essentially do nothing, or write gibberish quickly and consider it done.  

If he were using dictation (speech to text), the disability would become more apparent. 

That was the final straw for me, when we got AAC software (this spring, age 9) and I realized he couldn't even get out his thoughts with that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Literally, even AAC was too hard, because you still have to understand words as words to use AAC. Play around with it. Get an AAC app and see what happens. Is there a trial version of proloquo2go? Or even something like texting, where it will predict/complete the *word* but won't fill in more (phrases). 

Edited by PeterPan

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17 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Have you ever wondered about ASD for him? It sounds like the pattern you're fitting, and it would pull all the pieces together. 

Yes. And last year's teacher thought so.  And my auntie who is a teacher and lived with us for about 5 weeks also mentioned it.  And the counsellor/ therapist we work with is convinced he has it but has not got the credentials to make an official diagnosis.

But no one "official" thinks so.  Not the pediatrician. Not the psychiatrist .   The counsellor referred us to a psychiatrist-- the only one in our area for about 5 hours and he said ( based on a short discussion with child)  that he thought ds was "quirky" but fun and interesting and not autistic.  He does not run the ADOS but thought "it might be interesting" to see how it went. It was a very frustrating conversation.  The one really useful thing he said was that medication can sometimes cause autism-like symptoms and approved us going off the Concerta.-- We did see a huge change in his personality.  More outgoing, more eye-contact, more laughter.  But he still has trouble processing language correctly and handling social situations well.    Psychiatrist's intern tried to suggest NVLD which would certainly fit many of the symptoms-- but that would assume verbal language is a strength which it really is not.  

We are on a waiting list for an psycho-educational assessment from someone from the nearest big town ( about 5 hours away).  I have no idea if they will run an ADOS if we request it or not, as this is a referral made by children's services who are trying to help us obtain services.  

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Does anyone have a link or suggestion for a "crib" sheet on writing different essays and paragraphs? So my son has a situation where verbal instruction just gets lost in an avalanche of words. What I need to do is make a one-page sheet of directions with Checklists. 

For example 

* What is the purpose of this paragraph? Then defines and gives some examples?

* What is the main idea ---- then defines the main idea

* What would be a good topic sentence- Then defines a topic sentences and gives an example

* Supporting sentences using before during after or whatever- giving examples

* Conclusion - explaining what it is and giving an example. 

That is my challenge. The teacher teachers it but then my son is lost in a jumble of notes he made trying to make sure he knew what everything was. 

 

IF anyone has a good easier book on writing that has this information condensed then I will make the sheets and put them in pdf for the teacher but I need something that distills the writing process down. 

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1 hour ago, NorthernBeth said:

There's actually a test for it btw, the SPELT (structured photographic expressive language test). It doesn't provide models, so kids who are good at imitation can't fake it out. It's only normed to about 11 because at that point basically all kids should be passing it, 100%. https://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=tm509 

Okay, so I was just going back over his speech language reports to see if he had been given this test and he had. 

Here are the results

:Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test – Third Edition
 Standard Score  102  Percentile Rank   52nd Severity Rating  Within Average Range
*Child is outside the norming range for this test, so scores were calculated at the max age (9 years, 11 months)  ( DS was 11 years old and 8 months when this testing was done over several days by video conferencing.)  

She mentions in her cover letter that she was surprised he did so well.  

So when you say kids should be passing it 100%, do you mean all kids should be passing it ( which at 52% I guess he did?)

Or did you mean all kids should be getting 100% on this, which clearly he didn't AND he is about 2 years older than the maximum age suggested.

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15 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

We are on a waiting list for an psycho-educational assessment from someone from the nearest big town

I had lost track of your progress there. Good deal! Will getting the diagnosis make a difference in access to services? Here, a dc who has ASD2 will qualify for funding from the county, job services, and health care (medicaid). So here, getting that eval would be a big deal, especially if you anticipate him needing transition services or assistance to hold a job. My ds has a gifted IQ but cannot handle the stress of a full-time job, not the way it looks now. When he's 14, he'll switch over to a different coordinator with the county who will help him with job opportunities and training, etc. 

Just my two cents, but I think I would assume the ASD (since it explains all the pieces) and intervene every way you know how. You're not going to make things go away, but you might make some things better. It's not going to rock his world or improve life necessarily if he can write a paragraph. But being able to talk about his day, being able to socialize, having his anxiety low enough that he CAN go out and socialize or work, these are big deals. So focus on the big deals and what will be pivotal.

So, for instance, I'm focusing rabidly on syntax right now because I want my ds to be able to read a book for recreation. He only plays apps, and I want him to be able to read. I'm focusing on narration because I want him to be safe and be able to tell about his day. I don't give a rip about what the school says he should be doing per grade. Safety, recreation, ability to have a good, fulfilled life, that's what I'm looking at. The byproduct will be the school skills, but those are the real reasons I'm concerned.

And, fwiw, when you start realizing how it's showing up in LIFE, it makes the providers and evaluators perk up and pay attention to. When I walk in and I say my ds isn't SAFE because he can't tell what happened in a therapy session or on an outing, that's a BIG DEAL. Safety is a BIG DEAL. Think about the things he can't do and frame them in terms of living skills and safety so you can emphasize how iMPORTANT these things are. 

The ADOS is good, but also there are developmental forms they use like the Vineland and adaptive living scales. These things can also show the deficits of autism and discriminate them from other diagnoses (mental health, ID, etc.). 

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25 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

Okay, so I was just going back over his speech language reports to see if he had been given this test and he had. 

Here are the results

:Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test – Third Edition
 Standard Score  102  Percentile Rank   52nd Severity Rating  Within Average Range
*Child is outside the norming range for this test, so scores were calculated at the max age (9 years, 11 months)  ( DS was 11 years old and 8 months when this testing was done over several days by video conferencing.)  

She mentions in her cover letter that she was surprised he did so well.  

So when you say kids should be passing it 100%, do you mean all kids should be passing it ( which at 52% I guess he did?)

Or did you mean all kids should be getting 100% on this, which clearly he didn't AND he is about 2 years older than the maximum age suggested.

Here's something to get you started. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15981706 They're going to talk about sensitivity, specificity, and cut scores. The idea is the bell curve for the test, by that age, is shifted to the right, with the majority scoring very high. So if the school or practitioner uses a traditional 1.5 Standard Deviations from the mean as the standard for diagnosing disability, they miss lots of kids. Because it's shifted to the right so much, they need cut scores. 

So even with a cut score of 95 he's still above it. On the other hand, I think the clinician used her judgment and said that was she was SEEING plus being old for the test plus plus was really indicative that it's still a language disability. So definitely don't look at percentages there. If the cut score was 95 for his age, then his 102 is pretty close for being old for the test. It's not going to be like an IQ test where the normal range was really wide. 

Edited by PeterPan

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3 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So, for instance, I'm focusing rabidly on syntax right now because I want my ds to be able to read a book for recreation. He only plays apps, and I want him to be able to read. I'm focusing on narration because I want him to be safe and be able to tell about his day. I don't give a rip about what the school says he should be doing per grade. Safety, recreation, ability to have a good, fulfilled life, that's what I'm looking at. The byproduct will be the school skills, but those are the real reasons I'm concerned.

And, fwiw, when you start realizing how it's showing up in LIFE, it makes the providers and evaluators perk up and pay attention to. When I walk in and I say my ds isn't SAFE because he can't tell what happened in a therapy session or on an outing, that's a BIG DEAL. Safety is a BIG DEAL. Think about the things he can't do and frame them in terms of living skills and safety so you can emphasize how iMPORTANT these things are. 

THIS------yes, exactly!!!!  This is the part I have trouble getting across. They don't quite see it because he can ramble on and on about his favourite topics like Pokeomon or Ninjago. But for example, last year, he was at some event, and he came up to me, upset and wanted to leave. After a lot of back and forth about how his tummy hurt, he finally said that his tummy hurt because one of the boys had hit him.  He was unable to describe him other than to say he had a yellow jacket on.  He could not point the child out in the room.  He did not know the kid's name and could not describe what he looked like.  No one else had seen it or could help us figure out who it was.  The only child I could see who had a jacket on  that was vaguely yellow, he insisted was NOT the right kid.  ( There were not that many kids in the building-- maybe 20-30, but it is possible someone had already left the event by the time he told me about it. Or maybe he just didn't recognize the kid out of context.) He could not ( or would not) tell me what had happened other than that he had gotten hit.  He kept claiming that he himself had started it, but could not tell me why he was saying this.  ( I was asking-- Did you call him names? No.  Did you hit him first?  No.  He kept saying no, no, no, but i started it. )  He was able to quote that the other boy had said something like "Don't start something with me. I am the wrong guy to mess with."  I talked to the adults in charge of the event, but since he had no idea who had done it and could not describe the person in any meaningful way, we could not follow up on it.  It was super frustrating.  Essentially, he could tell the big parts that had happened-- but not the sequence of events, or most of the details, or explain the cause and effect.  

But you don't notice this in casual conversation-- you only see it when you attempt to get him to describe an event in detail and in sequence. 

It's like there are 2 different tracks in his brain for talking.  I don't quite get it.

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Oh dear, that incident was terrible and scary!! And yes, narrative language and the ability to get out his thoughts is a safety issue. By not doing narrative language testing, they skirt the issue and aren't compelled to acknowledge and treat it. Read here a while and get angry. https://www.smartspeechtherapy.com/?s=narrative  Plenty of info on how to test, why it's important, why it's connected to everything else you're seeing. 

The SLP on that site uses SKILL plus other things, btw. I like SKILL a lot for it's open and go, totally ready to go structure. You still have to do language work, but it's a helpful framework. 

Sorry I've flooded you with so much. I spent a lot of time wanting SLPs and others to help me, and I kept looking for them, trying them. Finally I just had this moment where I realized I had to buckle down and do it myself, that they weren't going to help me. That's nice that one SLP in one state or one SLP in another has taken the time to specialize in this stuff. If we can't get to them or can't afford them and can't get help, we have to do it ourselves. It's NOT ROCKET SCIENCE and we CAN DO IT. 

So just slow it down, read till you wrap your brain around it, and formulate a game plan. 

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16 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

It's like there are 2 different tracks in his brain for talking.

That's actually why it's so obviously spectrum. He has preloaded all the language for his perseverative interest (reading about it, thinking about it) and is failing at the rest of life. 

On the plus side, that means you can harness his perseverative interest to work on the language skills. Like if he's into Pokemon, teach the narrative skills with pokemon, lol.

Edited by PeterPan

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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

I spent a lot of time wanting SLPs and others to help me, and I kept looking for them, trying them. Finally I just had this moment where I realized I had to buckle down and do it myself, that they weren't going to help me. That's nice that one SLP in one state or one SLP in another has taken the time to specialize in this stuff. If we can't get to them or can't afford them and can't get help, we have to do it ourselves. It's NOT ROCKET SCIENCE and we CAN DO IT. 

Yes, I keep wanting to find these experts-- but they just don't' exist in my area.  I was afraid I was just being arrogant to think I knew better.  If the people who keep reassuring me that he tests okay were able to explain how that matches up with his real life difficulties i would accept their anaylsis more easily.

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https://mindwingconcepts.com/products/discourse-and-thought-development-chart-wheel  Here's a chart to get you started on thinking about narrative language development. I probably have more links in my narrative language thread if you go read there. Moreau did a lot of research on the progression/stages of narrative development and encourages people to go through them. A lot of narrative language programs (including SKILL btw) go right to the end and want complete narratives. Her point is to meet your dc where they are, teach the next thing they need to go to the next level, get that solid, and keep building.

If you just go teach all the steps, you get kids with autism who can recite lists and not APPLY. It's more tedious to do it this way, because you're saying ok teach the first two skills, APPLY them, then teach the next skill and APPLY it, then the next and so on. Not flashy. 

The studies have been doing the opposite, teaching all the steps/components upfront, and although it works really well over a population it's actually really sketchy for the autism kids. When you dig in on the research for those (who might be like 4 out of 42 in the narrative language studies that are supposedly the evidence for these programs), you'll see mixed results. So I feel like I know my kid and I've been an educator how many years (15?) and I have just as much a right to an opinion and right to interpret that evidence. And my conclusion was that I'm going to teach to development and APPLY it till he can do that developmental step, then do the next and get it solid, then the next. I think that fits autism with a language disability, but I don't have further evidence on that, only my opinion on what the limited evidence means for my son.

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17 minutes ago, NorthernBeth said:

Yes, I keep wanting to find these experts-- but they just don't' exist in my area.  I was afraid I was just being arrogant to think I knew better.  If the people who keep reassuring me that he tests okay were able to explain how that matches up with his real life difficulties i would accept their anaylsis more easily.

Arrogant is the people telling these practitioners that they are experts, when they're maybe not. I'm referring to the bizarre pep talks I see SLP big wigs giving other SLPs, telling them they're experts, when the SLPs themselves are saying they don't have the tools and don't know what to do. The SLP training is, by necessity, very broad, and we're talking about very nuanced skills. A homeschooler is bringing a lot of experience and training in narrative language too, just not credentialed training. ;)

I think TIME to do the intervention matters, and I think motivation matters. I think FEARLESSNESS matters. Be fearless enough to say that imperfectly done is better than not at all. If you fail or hit a wall, reroute and say fine now we know we have more to work on. 

If you're the one who is available and motivated, then be fearless and work on it! My ds' progress is crazy slow, and sometimes I feel guilty about that. But then I suck up and realize I'm doing a lot, addressing a lot of areas, and ANY progress was better than before. 

If I win just at being able to list things that happened or give a sequence (a level 2 narrative per MW), then he's safer than he was before. I don't have to have a huge amount of progress to make a difference for safety. And that win also means he'll be able to have better conversations too, talking about his day or what he's been up to, chit chat level relationships that don't want to hear monologues on his perseverative interest, lol. So even a little progress could make a big difference. Small things can make a big difference and be pivotal, unlocking other areas and skills and things he could do. It's worth trying, even if you don't do the best or even if you feel like you're failing.

That's my two cents. If the experts won't do it, then we will.

Edited by PeterPan

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https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/ascendlearningcenter/SMARTER+Intervention/SMARTER+Intervnetion+Webinar+Workbook.pdf

That is the pdf to go with the (rather boring) sales pitch video at this link https://zoom.us/webinar/register/rec/WN_o-6Hm4hrRam_Oz8rKNK-ow?meetingId=JaAupB_LPypu28Cb4cWMQDwLnGR15eLTzlGAAP30iWiwIumekTziMw&playId=&action=play  

What I'm suggesting you notice in the pdf is the chart where they correlate syntax, narrative language, and reading comprehension instruction. They're trying to streamline, and that may or may not fit your ds. What is true is the connect between syntax and narrative development. If they don't have the sentence structures, they can't do those steps in narrative that use them. If you don't get adjectives/attributes, you can't describe a character. If you don't get verbs/functions, how do you list the actions? If you don't get concept words, how do you communicate first/next/last in a narrative? If you aren't understanding compound and complex sentences, how do you explain the problem in the story? (he did such and such BECAUSE...) 

So your vocabulary, syntax, narrative language, and reading comprehension pieces all go hand in hand, building up each other. You can run the parallel and teach the syntax you need for the narratives.

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2 hours ago, NorthernBeth said:

oh- wait--- is this the item you were thinking of?  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Interactive-Notebooks-Writing-Activities-Interactive-Writing-Notebook-878678  I actually own this, but haven't used it for a few years, and had forgotten about it!

This store, but different product: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Interactive-Research-Papers-Essays-for-Common-Core-Writing-Grades-4-6-1038982

My son can "do" this, but not really without help, and he ends up plagiarizing if he does it without serious help. It's like he can focus on structure or on paraphrasing, but not both. However, it's a really good set of materials to get him on the writing track and going through the motions.

Not being able to use this fairly independently to do repeat assignments (additional bios, etc.) is just part of what has shown us that he needs therapy and intervention on language. You might find success going through this a few times, and it will be all fine. Just keep the other stuff in mind if not! This seems to be common thing with ASD, and with your concerns on that, I think you are going to need therapy level materials. It is valid though, even if you want to do therapy, to use "regular" materials to grease those skids and to do it "together" if there is a sense that it's helping to learn a new structure. My son can do "regular" and therapy at the same time as long as the regular stuff is scaffolded and interactive. It really depends on where the kid is and what holes are present.

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3 hours ago, NorthernBeth said:

But no one "official" thinks so.  Not the pediatrician. Not the psychiatrist .   The counsellor referred us to a psychiatrist-- the only one in our area for about 5 hours and he said ( based on a short discussion with child)  that he thought ds was "quirky" but fun and interesting and not autistic.  He does not run the ADOS but thought "it might be interesting" to see how it went. It was a very frustrating conversation.  The one really useful thing he said was that medication can sometimes cause autism-like symptoms and approved us going off the Concerta.-- We did see a huge change in his personality.  More outgoing, more eye-contact, more laughter.  But he still has trouble processing language correctly and handling social situations well.    Psychiatrist's intern tried to suggest NVLD which would certainly fit many of the symptoms-- but that would assume verbal language is a strength which it really is not.  

So, my son with ASD and ADHD...he has always had some eye contact, it's just odd eye contact. He loves people. But when he's on Concerta, he has a more flat affect. It's not making him flat; he is naturally more flat--the ADHD is making him more animated, but only because he's overriding his own natural inhibitions. So, we might notice he's more animated OFF meds, but it's really that he's more slap-happy and not really in control. So, it's a little weird in that we're actually happier for him to be more inhibited, but he needed it. He's super impulsive. When he first started taking meds, he concluded that he could no longer sing. What we eventually figured out is that he went from being totally unself-conscious about singing to suddenly realizing that people are watching (oh, the horror!). He was missing any component inside himself that made him stop, think, and put on the brakes. He had NONE. Lest you think it's kept him from doing positive things, he's in band and choir and has performed brief solos/duets. It just took him time to get used to that feeling of healthy inhibition. He is able to be more himself with meds, and he doesn't like being without them. He literally walks around in circles wasting time without meds, and that is NOT how he wants to be. He's a very get 'er done kind of kid.

We have another kiddo with ADHD, and same deal with inhibition, except he's not flat on meds because he doesn't have ASD. But he is more controlled--more real humor and less silly, slap-happy stuff. 

Both of my kids are more able to do what they want to do when they are on meds--they have the ability to plan, fix problems, etc. and get it done. 

Just some additional data you might watch for.

Edited by kbutton
Typo changed my intended meaning
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Peterpan-- did you find Story Grammar Marker or the SKILL stuff more helpful?  Am I correct in thinking that SGM is maybe more the introductory level?  I am just trying to figure out exactly what my next step is, or the sequence of instruction.  

Possible sequence?:

- I already own the Loving Lit Interactive Grammar notebook- she does a bunch of stuff about very basic sentence structures and some color coding of sentence parts that might be helpful-   I am probably going to start here simply because I have it and it starts pretty easy and looks good for getting across sentence structure.  If this is easy, we can move on to the next level that kbutton mentioned about Writing Research Papers--- I am actually wondering if it could be done concurrently, as this is certainly the level his teachers are aiming for?  ( kbutton, when you said using this is what made it obvious he needed therapy level materials-- what materials did you go to?) 

-order Introductory level of Vicki Rothstein's Introductory Level of Vocabulary ?

-use the samples of  Sparc for Attributes and Sparc for Grammar and see if they are right level for working with DS ( the Sparc for Grammar looks like exactly the issue he is having-- showing you how to invert a question to get a statement/ answer) Some of the Attribute stuff looks very easy, but other parts-- like listing what different items have in common--- I am curious to see if he can do that kind of categorization.-

-after we work through this stuff, try the SGM stuff? Or should this be concurrently? 

Where does SKILL fit in with this? Do that after SGM?

Does this sequence make sense?

I am suddenly feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start.  Considering the amount of time both I and the SLP spent last year working on writing a basic sentence using a capital, period and adding some adjectives,  I am assuming it won't be an easy fix ( seriously, we did work on this every week! for months!) 

Edited by NorthernBeth
grammatical error

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I don't know where your ds is, because I only know my ds. And Kbutton knows her ds, so she's giving you even more recs that fit her ds. And our two boys (Kbuttons and mine) are really at different places. My ds is support level 2 with a language disability, would not mainstream, and scripted heavily. Even though he seemed to have language, he benefited from going back through every single thing very tediously. It wasn't about one particular curriculum or another but knowing what I was working on: vocabulary then syntax, then narrative. But Kbutton's ds is way beyond that vocabulary level seemingly (for the most part, except for holes), seems to have mostly intact ability to understand and use expressively syntax, and jumps in more at the narrative level. So I don't know your kid. My advice would be to understand the sequence of language development and how those pieces build and decide for yourself where he needs to jump in.

I wove together the SPARC books and the Rothstein 100% Vocab, because the SPARC books and the Spotlight series and other goodies were expanding the topics in the Rothstein 100% Vocab book. So, to put it in our homeschooling lingo, I used Rothstein as the spine, the topic of the week, and then I supplemented with SPARC, Spotlight, games, anything I could find or make up to get more practice.

The difference between the two Rothstein levels is vocabulary, the abstractness and difficulty of the vocabulary. It's designed to hit teens to adults, but it's covering the same *skills* as the primary level. So if the language level of the primary book fits him better, I would use that.

I liked using Rothstein as the spine and fleshing the topics out with the SPARC books. So, to be clear, I was literally doing an entire SPARC book in 1-2 weeks. If the topic of the week was attributes in Rothstein, then we literally completed the entire SPARC book for attributes before moving on. I'm apparently not a very nice person. :biggrin:

The MW site has a chart showing the relationship between vocabulary, syntax, and narrative discourse. Keep reading on there, going through their blog posts, watching their videos. It's really important to wrap your brain around, because it will make you more flexible and more confident here. I already explained that "vocabulary" skills become the basis for understanding syntax. Syntax then drives narrative discourse and thought. So it's dominoes, and the question is how far you have to back up for your particular dc to fill in those skills and get it moving forward. I had to go way, way back. 

Ok, my two cents is take the time to read on the SGM site before ordering. They have so so so much for free, including videos, pdfs, blog posts. They have hours upon hours of videos. I personally find the SGM materials kind of open-ended. I'm an idiot-proof kinda person, so I like idiot-proof, open and go, totally obvious materials. I don't want anyone's theories or what generally could be applied. I need idiot-proof. SGM is the most thought out, but it's aimed at SLPs, people who are probably already doing contextualized therapy instruction. So they might have a book of the week or a book of the month, and they use that one book they prep with all their clients to target a variety of goals. It's really smart and it's evidence-based practice, yes! But for me, that's not open and go idiot-proof. 

SKILL is a lot trimmer, but it has utterly idiot-proof presentation. It is weak on some of the fleshing out that SGM is strong on, and SGM is really strong on their developmental progression. I talked with Moreau at SGM and ordered their autism kit on her advice. I printed the resources (graphic organizers, charts to flesh out things, etc.) and wove them into my SKILL manual. I have a pile of 50 picture books I got through the library using a list I found online and had put in the narrative language thread. So after we do the skill with SKILL (haha), then I can apply it to some of our favorite picture books from that pile. 

That's what I'm doing. I spent a ridiculous amount of money doing it, so I'm not saying that's the smart thing or necessary thing. I sat with the MW ASD kit books for a month or two, with them unused, and I just decided SKILL was going to get me out of the ethereal and get me going. At that point I had both, so it was logical to do both. But I think you should read, think it through, maybe call and talk with Moreau, and go with your gut. Once you start in doing stuff yourself, you're going to have to trust your gut. Imperfectly is better than nothing, and it's ok to start in and realize you want something more. To avoid $$ mistakes, spend lots of time seeing what they have online for free (which MW has a TON, an absolute ton), and go with your gut.

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I just lost more I was writing. I felt overwhelmed too, and I think it's because it IS hard. But if you start somewhere, do something imperfectly, and do that foundational, pivotal thing WELL, then he'll be in a position to do the next thing. That's how it's working for us, because that was what my ds needed. I just don't know your ds to know how much he needs to back up. You're going to have to go with your gut. If you try something and it's too hard, break into chunks or back up and look for the more pivotal step.

Fwiw, I think it would be hard for ANYONE to do this, with or without swanky degrees. 

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Oh good night, I lost really cool stuff there. Try to go back through the links I gave you and keep reading on the MW site. They put SO much on there for free, including hours and hours of videos. Find their youtube channel and watch everything. Seriously. 

They have charts showing how the steps of narrative development (descriptive sequence, action sequence, etc.) then turn into expository structures. If you're feeling guilty like you need to get into expository, that will be the way, by focusing on the structures he's ready to do with the syntax he already has.

So working on vocab will get him thinking at the word level. Once you've nailed the first 3-4 chapters of Rothstein, then begin stuff for syntax and run them parallel. At that point it's just a matter of time and energy. We finished our vocabulary level work, because we were making a big push, THEN started advanced syntax and narrative. You can't do it all, so my two cents would be focus on whatever is pivotal or foundational and really do it. There's evidence that intervening hard (every day for 9 weeks) and frontloading instruction like that gets better results than 2 years of dribbled, traditional therapy. So pick something, do it fast and hard, then move on to the next thing. If you have the time, that would be my advice.

Edited by PeterPan

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4 hours ago, NorthernBeth said:

- I already own the Loving Lit Interactive Grammar notebook- she does a bunch of stuff about very basic sentence structures and some color coding of sentence parts that might be helpful-   I am probably going to start here simply because I have it and it starts pretty easy and looks good for getting across sentence structure.  If this is easy, we can move on to the next level that kbutton mentioned about Writing Research Papers--- I am actually wondering if it could be done concurrently, as this is certainly the level his teachers are aiming for?  ( kbutton, when you said using this is what made it obvious he needed therapy level materials-- what materials did you go to?) 

I am suddenly feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start.  Considering the amount of time both I and the SLP spent last year working on writing a basic sentence using a capital, period and adding some adjectives,  I am assuming it won't be an easy fix ( seriously, we did work on this every week! for months!) 

So, I went to SGM that my son uses with an SLP. She is liking it a lot. My son has great ability to write sentences, but he's missing some big picture/critical thinking stuff that SGM provides up close work on. He's using the main Thememaker book (SGM for older kids), and we are also using the Making Connections autism book (which no one expected him to need, but there ya go!). We are planning on using some of the TpT lessons concurrently, but have my son actually make the connections back to SGM. I haven't done a lot of that yet due to time constraints, but that's the plan. 

SGM offers tracking type materials that school-based SLPs and intervention teachers can use for tracking and reporting progress. That's one nice thing if you choose to go that route. 

Anyway, I think if you try the grade level materials and have difficulty, then you can use that as fuel for getting him more/different help at school. If you have a sense that therapy level materials are more appropriate, I would just get going with the SGM stuff. Call the company and ask questions--the author will get on the phone with you, and she'll even talk about testing he's had and what the results might mean for where to plug into her products. She's great! 

As PeterPan said, our kids are at different places--my son has more intact language stuff but has holes. 

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9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I don't know where your ds is, because I only know my ds. And Kbutton knows her ds, so she's giving you even more recs that fit her ds. And our two boys (Kbuttons and mine) are really at different places. My ds is support level 2 with a language disability, would not mainstream, and scripted heavily. Even though he seemed to have language, he benefited from going back through every single thing very tediously. It wasn't about one particular curriculum or another but knowing what I was working on: vocabulary then syntax, then narrative. But Kbutton's ds is way beyond that vocabulary level seemingly (for the most part, except for holes), seems to have mostly intact ability to understand and use expressively syntax, and jumps in more at the narrative level. So I don't know your kid. My advice would be to understand the sequence of language development and how those pieces build and decide for yourself where he needs to jump in.

Lol-- no, no, I know you can't tell me where my ds is at in his development.  I was just trying to make sure I understood which materials were easier compared to more complex.  

Thank-you both for all the ideas.  When my son was sick last week, we spent a bit of time on Google docs trying to finish up some of his assignments, and when I saw what he was handing in, I just felt so overwhelmed at how to help his writing come together.  But actually realizing it is more of an overall language issue is easier in some ways to get a handle on ( although it is a bigger problem) because the problem makes more sense to me now AND we can work more on oral language structures first.  

Okay I was going to write more, but impatient ds is here wanting me to put him to bed, I gotta go.  

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I'll bet this is an interesting week for you, with lots of dots coming together! Yes, once you realize it was LANGUAGE behind the issues, then you start to see it. 

I guess I don't know how to answer easier/complex. To me I'm looking for what needs to be in place FIRST in order for the rest of the pieces to work. So it's dominoes. None of it's hard, lol. Technically a 6 yo uses complex language structures beyond what my ds10 has. Now primary to secondary materials make a difference, because you're changing the level of the vocabulary, etc. It's easier to work on concepts like attributes or categories if the language is simpler. So mainly I would look at developmental order, what needs to be in place for the next thing to work. 

Keep rolling with it. You're about to have a lot of epiphanies. When I finally GOT that complex syntax (he did this because blah blah) was driving complex thought (narrative and expository), the world opened up. It was this huge just oh wow how did I not get it. All the pieces came together. So with behaviors and self-advocacy, how do you do that if you don't have the language? Language drives thoughts, behaviors, writing, everything. It ties to Interoception and our ability to self-advocate and problem solve. (My hands are dirty and cold so I will...) The work you're doing will mature him and drive thought. 

Well cool, sounds like you're getting it figured out. Keep asking for help as needed. :)

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