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mrsfellman

7 yr old "1st Grade" Boy - Reading Concerns

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Hello! I'm looking for some help, suggestions and ideas in regards to my middle son. He had his Kindergarten year at a, then local, small Christian School. They used Abeka curriculum and he was "reading" at the end of the year. He is emotionally behind his age but was "academically" the smartest in the class but is VERY Strong Willed and never wants to do school. Fast forward to this 1st grade year. He did the first 6 wks at the same school til we moved and we transitioned into homeschooling. I already had AAR level 1 on hand but instead of implementing the whole program like I should have I just had him read 1 story out of the readers every day we did school. It is consistently pulling teeth to get him to read to me. I finally have "let it go" for a few weeks because once we got to the 3rd reader I realized he needs to revisit blending consonants. However, he still insists he has NO desire to read AT ALL. 

He does wear eyeglasses (nearsighted and an astigmatism) and has since he was 4 almost 5. He just turned 7 in April so he is younger for his grade but not terribly. He has a high vocabulary and is very good with his Spelling Workout level A book (half way through). He does write his numbers backwards often (not place value as much because we've worked on his grasp of place value) and commonly writes letters backwards as well as mixing up his upper and lower case usage. I'm being to wonder if he is struggling with some form of dyslexia. I know I have struggled with dyslexia since a child but no one ever really did anything about it for me. 

Any help is much appreciated! I'm feeling very lost with this particular child.  

Edited by mrsfellman

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If he did well with Abeka, why don't you get Abeka 1st grade stuff and do it with him?  

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It is normal for people not to desire to do things that they find difficult or distasteful.  That your son doesn't want to read is perfectly understandable.  He likely will not want to read until it is enjoyable for him and it won't be enjoyable until he is a fluent reader.

That said, the fact that you have dyslexia makes it more likely that he also has dyslexia (assuming that he is your biological child).  That combined with possible vision issues (having uncorrected vision in early childhood can cause lingering problems) means that he may struggle more than expected with reading.  I'd read the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz to see if anything resonates there. 

If he has dyslexia it means that he will need to be explicitly taught how to read using phonics and then have that instruction reinforced with daily practice, possibly for years.  I'd start at the beginning using a program that is known to work for dyslexics and move through it at his pace.  Do not expect him to enjoy it or want to do it at all.  

That said, you want him to associate reading with pleasure, so be sure to read aloud to him every day from books that he enjoys.

 

  

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9 minutes ago, perkybunch said:

If he did well with Abeka, why don't you get Abeka 1st grade stuff and do it with him?  

I'm not really sure I'd say he "did well". He did it because that is what the did there at some point he when forced to read he can up to a certain level. It more of the extreme unwillingness to even do any reading that we are struggling with the most. 

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My youngest is similar - strong-willed with phonemic awareness weaknesses - so teaching him to read has been like pulling teeth.  I actually red-shirted him (he's a summer b-day); we sent him to the church's pre-K during what would have been his K year, and then hs'ed K the next year.  He's finishing up 1st grade now, as a 7.5yo.  We're still on CVC words, actually, though he's finally overcome most of his phonemic awareness issues; I ended up restarting the phonics primer from the beginning at least three times, if not four, as he hit walls.  Based on his older siblings, there's only one more major hurdle to go, blending consonants (both my girls needed a *ton* of focused work to learn to hear the separate sounds in blends and to actually blend the separate sounds together). 

I've had success incorporating sound tiles and phonogram tiles (AAS has phonogram tiles, I think AAR does as well) - they both help with the weaknesses plus ds likes them.  In your shoes, I think I'd either start AAR back from the beginning, doing it as written; or else follow EKS's advice and start with a dyslexia program.  (I ended up using our phonics primer as a base ("Let's Read: A Linguistic Approach")- it has a really excellent word list, very thorough and incremental and logically arranged by phonics pattern, along with a ton of phonetically-controlled connected text - while heavily modifying how I teach it, incorporating ideas and techniques and such from other programs.)

If you have an iPad, you could try Dekodiphukan (Decode-if-you-can).  It's a really neat approach to phonics that starts with 44 sound pictures that visually represent the sound (such as a hissing snake for /s/ and a buzzing bee for /z/).  It teaches the sounds through a neat rhyming story; most are very intuitive, and the rest make perfect sense within the story.  We all had them memorized within a few times through.  All the sound picture work helps prevent and remediate reading-by-sight, and also really emphasizes reading and spelling by sound.  It's a lot of fun, and it's free for the iPad.  (If you don't have an iPad, all the print materials are also free to download.)  I use the apps as a supplement, but I've incorporated the sound pictures into the core of my reading/spelling approach.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

It is normal for people not to desire to do things that they find difficult or distasteful.  That your son doesn't want to read is perfectly understandable.  He likely will not want to read until it is enjoyable for him and it won't be enjoyable until he is a fluent reader.

That said, the fact that you have dyslexia makes it more likely that he also has dyslexia (assuming that he is your biological child).  That combined with possible vision issues (having uncorrected vision in early childhood can cause lingering problems) means that he may struggle more than expected with reading.  I'd read the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz to see if anything resonates there. 

If he has dyslexia it means that he will need to be explicitly taught how to read using phonics and then have that instruction reinforced with daily practice, possibly for years.  I'd start at the beginning using a program that is known to work for dyslexics and move through it at his pace.  Do not expect him to enjoy it or want to do it at all.  

That said, you want him to associate reading with pleasure, so be sure to read aloud to him every day from books that he enjoys.

 

  

Yes, he is biologically mine and the strong willed-ness he gets from his Dad. 😂 (seriously and we all recognize it) As for my dyslexia, I was home schooled myself and my parents were anti-modern medicine so while we all recognized it I was never "properly tested". I even reverted to writing words backwards again for a few months after my hysterectomy last year. I mostly know just mix words up in sentences when talking but struggled with writing letters and whole words backwards as a child. Spelling has always been a struggle for me as well. 

Middle son does actually really well with spelling and his enunciation has been "off the charts" since he was very very young. He was speaking in clear 6+ worded sentences prior to age 2. When he was a little over 2 yrs old he stood on a stump of a tree on our property and declared "this is SPECTACULAR!" very clear and distinct for any adult to understand. He is currently spelling 4 letter words with blends and as long as a word doesn't "violate" any known to him phonics rule he can spell verbally just fine. So the more I ponder him over the more I come back to it being a written and a willingness issue. 

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Mine didn’t actually enjoy reading for pleasure until they had a fair bit of practice.  We just treated reading practice as something you have to do like brushing teeth etc.  I know some people don’t like to do it that way because it might make them hate reading but my kids are all pretty enthusiastic readers now.  That said if he’s seven and had two years reading instruction and needing a lot of review you may want to look into dyslexia.  There is lots of knowledge over on the learning challenges board so pop a post over there and you will get good advice on where to go if you think that’s likely.

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2 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

Yes, he is biologically mine and the strong willed-ness he gets from his Dad. 😂 (seriously and we all recognize it) As for my dyslexia, I was home schooled myself and my parents were anti-modern medicine so while we all recognized it I was never "properly tested". I even reverted to writing words backwards again for a few months after my hysterectomy last year. I mostly know just mix words up in sentences when talking but struggled with writing letters and whole words backwards as a child. Spelling has always been a struggle for me as well. 

Middle son does actually really well with spelling and his enunciation has been "off the charts" since he was very very young. He was speaking in clear 6+ worded sentences prior to age 2. When he was a little over 2 yrs old he stood on a stump of a tree on our property and declared "this is SPECTACULAR!" very clear and distinct for any adult to understand. He is currently spelling 4 letter words with blends and as long as a word doesn't "violate" any known to him phonics rule he can spell verbally just fine. So the more I ponder him over the more I come back to it being a written and a willingness issue. 

You might want to google "stealth dyslexia."  

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6 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

Hello! I'm looking for some help, suggestions and ideas in regards to my middle son. He had his Kindergarten year at a, then local, small Christian School. They used Abeka curriculum and he was "reading" at the end of the year. He is emotionally behind his age but was "academically" the smartest in the class but is VERY Strong Willed and never wants to do school. Fast forward to this 1st grade year. He did the first 6 wks at the same school til we moved and we transitioned into homeschooling. I already had AAR level 1 on hand but instead of implementing the whole program like I should have I just had him read 1 story out of the readers every day we did school. It is consistently pulling teeth to get him to read to me. I finally have "let it go" for a few weeks because once we got to the 3rd reader I realized he needs to revisit blending consonants. However, he still insists he has NO desire to read AT ALL. 

He does wear eyeglasses (nearsighted and an astigmatism) and has since he was 4 almost 5. He just turned 7 in April so he is younger for his grade but not terribly. He has a high vocabulary and is very good with his Spelling Workout level A book (half way through). He does write his numbers backwards often (not place value as much because we've worked on his grasp of place value) and commonly writes letters backwards as well as mixing up his upper and lower case usage. I'm being to wonder if he is struggling with some form of dyslexia. I know I have struggled with dyslexia since a child but no one ever really did anything about it for me. 

Any help is much appreciated! I'm feeling very lost with this particular child.  

There could be some dyslexia going on. Or maybe not.

I don't consider an April birthday "young" for a grade, but also, homeschooled children aren't "in" grades--a "grade" designated by a group of children approximately the same in age--and they don't have to compete in any way with other children in the same grade. Each child is only compared to himself.

My younger dd was not reading at her age level until she was nine and a half years old. She began taking classes at the community college when she was 14.

*I* would not force a child to read to me. I would read aloud to him, from good books, but I would not make the reading aloud into a lesson. 

My thoughts would be that it would be a good idea to put any official reading instruction away for several months. And when you start again, my recommendation would be Spalding. It addresses all learning modalities, and it often helps children with learning issues (such as reversing letters and numbers) because it gives such specific instruction on how to write each one. It teaches children to read by teaching them to spell, simultaneously teaching penmanship, capitalization and punctuation and simple writing. You only need the manual (Writing Toad to Reading) and a set of phonogram cards (I prefer the fourth edition of the manual).

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My son is also 7 (in Oct) and old for his grade and also never wants to read.  He wanted to read when he first began, but no longer does.  I think it just takes too long and he doesn't want to sit.  I get frustrated because he tries to guess words just to hurry up the process.  Then I have to send him back to the word and it slows him down.  I'm not happy with his wpm.   We use LOE, and the spring rate for grade 1 is something like 75 wpm.  My son is closer to the fall rate, which I think is 40 wpm. He does read with expression and looks at pictures but it doesn't slow him down that much.  I'm firm on having him read twice a day from now on.  I'm also having him follow the words with his finger.  It helps him not get lost.

What is your son reading?  Can you get something enjoyable?  We are reading Dodsworth books now and my son thinks they are funny.  I would let him choose some in the beginner section of the library.   Does your library have a summer reading program?  Ours charts books read and gives prizes so is motivational.

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17 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

He does wear eyeglasses (nearsighted and an astigmatism) and has since he was 4 almost 5. He just turned 7 in April so he is younger for his grade but not terribly. He has a high vocabulary and is very good with his Spelling Workout level A book (half way through). He does write his numbers backwards often (not place value as much because we've worked on his grasp of place value) and commonly writes letters backwards as well as mixing up his upper and lower case usage.

Since dyslexia is not a vision problem, he also needs his eyes checked by a developmental optometrist. You find them through COVD. You should also go ahead and get psych evals and get the SLD diagnosed. Your ds is the recommended age (K5 going into 1st) for diagnosis, so it is NOT EARLY. He may also get an SLD writing diagnosis, given what you're describing. I would also get an OT eval for good measure. He may have midline issues and poor VMI (visual motor integration) behind the writing issues. Given that dyslexia is genetic (except when it's caused by brain damage, etc.), absolutely it's probable he has dyslexia. But that's doesn't necessarily explain *everything* going on. You will benefit from getting complete evals. (psych, OT, SLP) 

https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss  Here's the link for the Barton student screening. As you're finding, Abeka is not sound phonological processing instruction. He may have gaps preventing him from being ready for AAR or *any* OG-based program, and that's what the Barton screening will tell you. It's not a dyslexia test but a screener for basic phonemic awareness and working memory issues that hinder the dc in any OG-based program. It's free and only takes maybe 15 minutes to administer. It will give you good info, and then you can post here with the results or even call Barton herself. She's in CA, and she's a lovely, lovely lady. I talked with her when my ds was at the stage yours is, and she was very helpful.

My dd has an April b-day, so I hear you on the feeling young for the grade! I don't think that's what you're seeing here. He's just flat having problems, and his behavior is showing you things are too hard and that he needs help. At least he's NOT hitting, throwing, or doing anything dangerous. Is he very self-aware of how he's feeling? Is he actually saying this is too hard? Or is he shutting down and turtling and hiding? ADHD, self-regulation issues, social delay, etc. are pretty commonly co-morbid with dyslexia. You're going to want to address these things as well. If he's not realizing how he's feeling, your program of choice is Interoception by Kelly Mahler. https://www.kelly-mahler.com/what-is-interoception/  If he is realizing how he feels and can say it but just isn't making good choices and self-monitoring, then look at The Zones of Regulation: A Concept to Foster Self-Regulation ...https://zonesofregulation.com/  Zones of Reg is evidence-based and one of your top things they're doing in the ps, dyslexia schools, etc. I toured our dyslexia school last spring, and they make a really big deal of their integration of ZoR, calming strategies, social thinking programs, etc. When things are HARD, you need good tools to help regulate those big emotions.

Come see us over on LC! You're gonna fit right in and you don't need to be diagnosed. :smile:

Edited by PeterPan

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  This is a link to Laurie4b's open letter, and it's a good refresher. This is a pretty common issue in the homeschool community, and you don't want the sadness of realizing you waited, didn't listen to your gut, and delayed intervention that could have begun much earlier. The current recommendation is that dyslexia be identified before 1st grade and the tools are strong enough to be accurate on this. There is zero need to wait and wonder. You can make evidence-based decisions, data-based decisions. If you listen to anecdotes, then you're *hoping* that that person's situation parallels yours, when they don't really have the data to prove whether it does or not. 

My ds had little to no speech as he approached 2, and there's a whole train of thought out there that you could just wait, statistically it pans out, blah blah. The thing is, those people weren't being precise on what was going on and weren't explaining the consequences, like the train wreck of writing problems (expressive language, hello), metalinguistics, etc. the kids later had. So their kids had developmental delays and those parent were satisfied with how it turned out. My ds didn't. He had apraxia, a motor planning of speech problem that isn't a developmental delay, isn't something you outgrow, and that has required over 8 years over intervention. Waiting based on someone's anecdote is never wise. Make an evidence-based decision. You can get evals for free through the ps or privately with your insurance. There is no reason NOT to eval. You can have the CTOPP, narrative language testing, everything through the ps if you advocate hard enough. Then you can take that evidence and decide what to do with it. 

Adding: I'm all in favor of psych evals for paper trail, but also look into SLPs who specialize in literacy. Some have the TILLS, which is a really great newer test. Check it out. 

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16 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

. I even reverted to writing words backwards again for a few months after my hysterectomy last year. I mostly know just mix words up in sentences when talking but struggled with writing letters and whole words backwards as a child. Spelling has always been a struggle for me as well. 
 

 

Have you done your bloodwork lately?  With that history I'd look to have the Vitamin B12 level tested. 

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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Since dyslexia is not a vision problem, he also needs his eyes checked by a developmental optometrist. You find them through COVD. You should also go ahead and get psych evals and get the SLD diagnosed. Your ds is the recommended age (K5 going into 1st) for diagnosis, so it is NOT EARLY. He may also get an SLD writing diagnosis, given what you're describing. I would also get an OT eval for good measure. He may have midline issues and poor VMI (visual motor integration) behind the writing issues. Given that dyslexia is genetic (except when it's caused by brain damage, etc.), absolutely it's probable he has dyslexia. But that's doesn't necessarily explain *everything* going on. You will benefit from getting complete evals. (psych, OT, SLP) 

What is an SLD writing diagnosis? It sounds like my first call is to find and get an appointment with a developmental optometrist. I'm assuming they are not like our Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Our insurance is through Medi-Care so we will be paying for it out of pocket. Unless there is some things I can run through our Tulsa OK PS? 

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3 hours ago, HeighHo said:

 

Have you done your bloodwork lately?  With that history I'd look to have the Vitamin B12 level tested. 

I have CHDs that were repaired as an adult back in 2011 via Open Heart Surgery and also have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. So I do supplement many things due to deficiencies. I just really struggled mentally after my hysterectomy from the anesthesia for a few months.  

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3 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

I have CHDs that were repaired as an adult back in 2011 via Open Heart Surgery and also have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. So I do supplement many things due to deficiencies. I just really struggled mentally after my hysterectomy from the anesthesia for a few months.  

 

What I was told is that anesthesia depletes B12.  It's worth checking out since you have the mental symptoms.  If it is B12, the supplement is cheap.

Edited by HeighHo

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Consonant blends are really hard for a lot of kids. I think in your shoes that I'd take a break over the summer. Read books to him that he's interested in--all kinds of fiction and non-fiction. Work to create a love for books, which in turn helps with motivation to read.

How is he with phonological awareness skills like rhyming and oral blending? If these are hard for him, work on those skills over the summer instead of reading specifically. This article has some ideas and free downloads you can use.  

Reading is really hard work for kids with dyslexia, so it's not unusual that it's so difficult for him. When you start back up, I would restart AAR from the beginning but implement the lessons too. Keep things short and fun if possible (I know it's not always possible in this "reading is a lot of work" stage for kids!). The AALP site has free practice page activity ideas to make those pages more enjoyable (which tend to be difficult but important for kids who struggle.) Doing things like the switch out tile activities can really help with consonant blends. Work on ending blends first--beginning blends tend to be a bit harder. Change one tile at a time, like had-lad-land-sand-sad-pad-pod-pond, or gift-lift-left-theft, etc... Do a string each day, and make sure he's using the full blending procedure if he starts to guess. It does take work, but he'll get there! 

You can also check out the Dyslexia Resources page for teaching tips and ideas.

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13 hours ago, PeterPan said:

He's just flat having problems, and his behavior is showing you things are too hard and that he needs help. At least he's NOT hitting, throwing, or doing anything dangerous. Is he very self-aware of how he's feeling? Is he actually saying this is too hard? Or is he shutting down and turtling and hiding? ADHD, self-regulation issues, social delay, etc. are pretty commonly co-morbid with dyslexia. You're going to want to address these things as well. If he's not realizing how he's feeling, your program of choice is Interoception by Kelly Mahler. https://www.kelly-mahler.com/what-is-interoception/  If he is realizing how he feels and can say it but just isn't making good choices and self-monitoring, then look at The Zones of Regulation: A Concept to Foster Self-Regulation ...https://zonesofregulation.com/  Zones of Reg is evidence-based and one of your top things they're doing in the ps, dyslexia schools, etc. I toured our dyslexia school last spring, and they make a really big deal of their integration of ZoR, calming strategies, social thinking programs, etc. When things are HARD, you need good tools to help regulate those big emotions.

Come see us over on LC! You're gonna fit right in and you don't need to be diagnosed. :smile:

He does tell me he "can't read" and is currently telling me he never wants to learn to read and that he won't need to read even in the future "adult years". He is our "doom and gloom" boy though and is so contrary he'll tell you the sky is red if you mention how blue it is today. He can go from being over the moon happy to over the moon sad or mad. 

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10 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

from the anesthesia for a few months.  

You could also run genetics and look for MTHFR issues. 

1 hour ago, mrsfellman said:

He does tell me he "can't read" and is currently telling me he never wants to learn to read and that he won't need to read even in the future "adult years". He is our "doom and gloom" boy though and is so contrary he'll tell you the sky is red if you mention how blue it is today. He can go from being over the moon happy to over the moon sad or mad. 

Sigh, depression is pretty common with ADHD and SLDs, and it kinda makes sense when you figure he's got a pretty big discrepancy going there and knows it. It's why a wait and hope it goes away approach doesn't make sense. 

On the optometrist, yeah there's sorta turf war between dev. optometrists and opthamologists. There actually are some opthamologists who do vision therapy. Around here, a dev. optometrist can do a regular vision eval and *screen* to tell you if the longer vision eval is even warranted. That will save you some money. Will your insurance cover an OT eval? I'm not meaning to make it sound overwhelming. I would go with the screening on the vision to start with and try to get your insurance to cover the OT eval and psych evals. If your insurance won't cover those, then go through the ps, which will get you the SLP testing as well.

For my ds, the reversals improved dramatically with OT. He has always tested fine with the developmental optometrist for your basic issues like convergence, etc. His VMI=visual motor integration is really poor. He used to assemble lego and knex backwards, so we had to check every step. He had retained reflexes too, and we did the exercises to integrate those. The OTs had him doing a lot of things for midline, like BalavisX, which you can do yourself if you want. 

Did you do the Barton screening? I think we linked that here. I'd be interested to hear the results when you do it. 

Evals are a perverse thing, because for a while you blow up your dc, dissecting every problem. Then you go back and glue him all back together and go ok he has issues but he's a whole person, someone who needs to function as a whole and needs joy. If you function on the joy and DON'T dissect and figure out what's going wrong, you can't tell what to target. But if you don't also work on him as a whole and get some success, he can spiral with frustration. Some people will put it to spend as much time doing something they're STRONG at as what you spend doing intervention. It doesn't have to be nitpicky, but you will want to look for areas, ANY areas, that are going well and put emphasis onto them. Like does he do rabbits for 4H? I'm totally making this up, I have no clue. Whatever goes well for him, do more of it. 

1 hour ago, mrsfellman said:

He can go from being over the moon happy to over the moon sad or mad. 

It would be interesting to see how well he knows how his body actually feels. You could just informally do a body scan with him or just ask him how he feels, how he knows he feels that way. There's the idea of interoception or our own awareness of how we feel (affective and homeostatic emotions= emotions and body feelings). And then there's the paying attention to it. So Zones of Regulation is a terrific tool for teaching them how to realize what zone they're in. Sometimes just the act of stopping and paying attention to their bodies is enough. Unless there's say spectrum going on, it really might be enough. Blue (down, sluggish, bored), Green (good to go), Yellow (getting edgy), Red (losing control, can be out of control HAPPY, not just mad). It's literally that simple, boom. Check in, talk about what zone you're each in and then make some choices that might help him get to a different place. Do some inventories, like if you do 10 jumping jacks, now what zone are you in? If you read jokes from a joke book for 5 minutes, now what zone are you in? If you pet your cat or run laps or whatever, what zone are you in? Just stopping to notice, doing check-ins, can make a BIG DIFFERENCE. It activates that part of the brain that controls self-awareness (the insula) and the effort to do a body scan will bump his EF (executive function, which affects emotional regulation) 30%. So it's an evidence-based, free, no medication way to improve his stability a bit. 

Personally, I wouldn't screw around with materials not meant for dyslexia. When a dc is that discouraged, step it up with some powerful tools. I got my ds diagnosed when he was newly 6, began Barton, and he finished 1st grade reading at a 4th grade reading level. Now granted, we were working on it an astonishing amount each day, often 2-3 hours. Others on the board here have done similarly. There is not some law that says how this has to roll. Now sometimes it's better to go more slowly, just emotionally. But it's that kind of discussion you can have together where you empower him and ask him what he wants. He doesn't have to eye read all the time, but he'd like to be able to eye read when he WANTS to.

Ben Foss has videos and a book on this idea of dyslexia empowerment. He talks about eye reading and ear reading. Is your ds using audiobooks? If he gets diagnosed, you can get your ped to sign the forms for the National Library Service. We use TONS of books from there, oh my, love love. We're CONSTANTLY downloading books. Foss puts it that there's eye reading and ear reading and we need to equalize them and remove the stigma. Sometimes you can eye read but it's not the right choice. We want tech and all the tools on the table. And I think that can help with some of that discouragement, because then he can be interacting with tech and ideas and having fun, even if eye reading isn't quite there for him right now yet.

Here's the link for the Barton student screening. https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss  It's not a dyslexia test but rather a screener to know if he has the basic phonemic awareness and working memory necessary to succeed with ANY OG-based program. It's free and doesn't take long to administer. Beyond that, if you find your insurance will not cover evals, then you can go ahead and make a formal written request to your local ps, saying you suspect learning disabilities and are requesting evals. You'll have results within 90 days per federal law and they'll be free. Given what's going on, you can probably get them to run psych, SLP, and OT if you push hard enough. 

Edited by PeterPan
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Slightly off topic... I remember seeing something posted about teaching a child to recognize syllable breaks.  Is that just by locating the vowels?  Can you point to a resource for this?

So tonight, my son actually did want to read, but the book he chose (Violet the Pilot) had a lot of tricky words.  I wanted to go to bed so we alternated reading sentences which may have been one of my best ideas.  It was less intimidating,  and he tried to keep up with my rate.  When he came to "reassembled", it was really a struggle and I had to read it syllable by syllable.  It is a weird looking word when you consider that he has learned "ea" as a phonograms.  I guess, just with time, he learns about common prefixes and where syllable breaks are?  I don't remember having this issue with my older child. 

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11 hours ago, parent said:

Slightly off topic... I remember seeing something posted about teaching a child to recognize syllable breaks.  Is that just by locating the vowels?  Can you point to a resource for this?

So tonight, my son actually did want to read, but the book he chose (Violet the Pilot) had a lot of tricky words.  I wanted to go to bed so we alternated reading sentences which may have been one of my best ideas.  It was less intimidating,  and he tried to keep up with my rate.  When he came to "reassembled", it was really a struggle and I had to read it syllable by syllable.  It is a weird looking word when you consider that he has learned "ea" as a phonograms.  I guess, just with time, he learns about common prefixes and where syllable breaks are?  I don't remember having this issue with my older child. 

Some students figure out multi-syllable words on their own, many need explicit instruction in this.  My syllables program teaches how to divide them, and there is Webster's Speller with pre-divided syllables and schwa accent pattern organization, some students need to see and hear the schwa accent pattern that way before they can figure it out on their own.  My syllables program also teaches how to use Webster:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

If he is still having trouble after that, there are several other good multi-syllable resources out there: the Megawords series, Marcia Henry's Words, and Sophris West Rewards.

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On 5/15/2019 at 12:52 PM, mrsfellman said:

What is an SLD writing diagnosis? It sounds like my first call is to find and get an appointment with a developmental optometrist. I'm assuming they are not like our Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Our insurance is through Medi-Care so we will be paying for it out of pocket. Unless there is some things I can run through our Tulsa OK PS? 

SLD stands for Specific Learning Disability. So the designation for a writing disability is SLD Written Communication.

Dyslexia would be SLD Reading.

These are the ways the school classifies learning disabilities. The DSM5, which is the official manual psychologists use for diagnosing disorders, also refers to learning disabilities as SLD.

As mentioned by previous posters, dyslexia is not a vision disorder and writing letters and numbers backwards is not the primary symptom. Some kids with dyslexia will reverse letters, but not all do. Some kids who reverse letters have a vision problem (which is why PeterPan suggests a developmental vision exam -- not a regular eye exam).

Dyslexia is primarily now defined as a phonological disorder. Some kids with dyslexia will also have problems with working memory and/or low processing and/or ADHD and/or vision issues that need specific vision therapy. To figure out what is at the root, an evaluation by an educational psychologist is best. Because without understanding the root cause, it's hard to develop a plan to help. Most kids with dyslexia will need a much more intensive and directed type of reading instruction, because general reading programs don't work for them.

It's hard to say from what you have posted whether he has phonological dyslexia or not, but it seems there very well may be some kind of underlying difficulty. Some of what you describe is related to vision rather than phonics. Especially since you have had similar problems with reversals yourself, getting an evaluation for vision therapy from a COVD eye doctor is probably a good first step.

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Here's a quick update. I really appreciate everyone's advice on here. I have made DC an appointment with a Tulsa area Developmental Optometrist that is board-certified in Pediatrics/Vision Therapy & Rehabilitation. We are scheduled for that evaluation on June 18th. 

I was just now able to administer the Barton Screening with DC and he had none wrong on Task A, 1 wrong on Task B and 3 "Correct After Repeat" and 1 Wrong on Task C. I struggle with hearing sounds well myself so I did my best to judge his ability to reproduce the sounds in Task C while having him watch Ms. Barton administer Task C. Over all the only outlying thing I noticed was when he pulled down the squares on Task A he didn't do it in a "sentence like" order and he counted his squares after pulling them down from right to left. However, I don't think that really is a problem just something I noticed.

I plan to re-start reading with him after our Eval in a few weeks. Would you all recommend I look at re-starting AAR or look at the Barton Lessons?

Edited by mrsfellman
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2 minutes ago, mrsfellman said:

I plan to wait to re-start reading with him until after our Eval in a few weeks. Would you all recommend I look at re-starting AAR or look at the Barton Lessons?

Neither. My recommendation would be Spalding.

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1 hour ago, mrsfellman said:

Here's a quick update. I really appreciate everyone's advice on here. I have made DC an appointment with a Tulsa area Developmental Optometrist that is board-certified in Pediatrics/Vision Therapy & Rehabilitation. We are scheduled for that evaluation on June 18th. 

Good! It may turn up something or it may not, but it's wise to get it eliminated as part of the issue. Remember, dyslexia is NOT a vision problem. I've had a developmental optometrist tell me that, so I'd just like to remind you. Dyslexia is NOT a vision problem. The developmental vision problems and reading disability can be CO-MORBID, but finding the one does not answer the question of the other.

1 hour ago, mrsfellman said:

I was just now able to administer the Barton Screening with DC and he had none wrong on Task A, 1 wrong on Task B and 3 "Correct After Repeat" and 1 Wrong on Task C. I struggle with hearing sounds well myself so I did my best to judge his ability to reproduce the sounds in Task C while having him watch Ms. Barton administer Task C. Over all the only outlying thing I noticed was when he pulled down the squares on Task A he didn't do it in a "sentence like" order and he counted his squares after pulling them down from right to left. However, I don't think that really is a problem just something I noticed.

So I just want to make sure I'm understanding this. He passed section A. He failed sections B and C. Yes? This is a SCREENER, a really basic screener to see if the dc has the basic phonemic awareness and working memory to succeed at any OG-based program. Therefore, because he FAILED THE SCREENER, he is not ready for Barton or SWR or WRTR or AAR or any other program that will not FIRST repair those skills.

 Do you have a reading disability or auditory challenges yourself? You should have been able to administer the screening accurately. Did you do the tutor screening? If you did not do the tutor screening, you probably should go back and do that. It sounds like you have some challenges there yourself. Dyslexia is highly heritable, genetic, a known thing. Have you had his hearing checked? At our big state university you can get that done for free through their school of audiology. Might be something to do, just to be sure. 

1 hour ago, mrsfellman said:

Would you all recommend I look at re-starting AAR or look at the Barton Lessons?

What you need to do is call, talk it through with Barton, and see what she says. I thought you basically needed to PASS the screener, and your ds didn't. But talk it through with her and see what she says. I think what you might want to do is start LIPS or FIS (the two phonemic awareness programs she recommends) NOW, do them now, and then see where you're at with the vision. There's no need to wait because either of those programs will be largely working on phonemic awareness and working memory, not using vision so much.

Your next question though is whether you want evals to get the SLDs diagnosed. If you go ahead and get a full psych eval (with a psychologist) they will diagnose the SLDs and get you paper trail. You can use that paper trail to get access to the National Library Service/BARD and free audiobooks. You're going to need that paper trail going forward to get accommodations, so it's a good idea to go ahead and get the evals NOW and get that baseline.

So you want a psych who specializes in dyslexia. Or you know around here I can find a reading tutor who will do the CTOPP and a reading achievement test for $75 and write a letter saying it's dyslexia. That would be enough. Some kind of baseline. The CTOPP is the test you really want for that baseline, and it doesn't matter how you get it. If your insurance will cover evals, go that way. If not, you can use the ps or a reading tutor or whatever. 

Once you have that baseline CTOPP, go ahead and begin your intervention. You will want to work on phonemic awareness first, using something meant for dyslexia. I used LIPS, but FIS is probably find. Barton is EXCELLENT, so the question is only whether you will do it or a someone else. You need to do the tutor screening and call Barton and talk it through with her. She's wonderful and will talk with you if you call. :smile:

Edited by PeterPan

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On 5/15/2019 at 4:02 PM, HeighHo said:

 

What I was told is that anesthesia depletes B12.  It's worth checking out since you have the mental symptoms.  If it is B12, the supplement is cheap.

Dh does B-12 before and after surgeries.  Also he refuses Versed and since then he's not had any short term memory losses.

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On 5/31/2019 at 12:11 PM, PeterPan said:

So I just want to make sure I'm understanding this. He passed section A. He failed sections B and C. Yes? This is a SCREENER, a really basic screener to see if the dc has the basic phonemic awareness and working memory to succeed at any OG-based program. Therefore, because he FAILED THE SCREENER, he is not ready for Barton or SWR or WRTR or AAR or any other program that will not FIRST repair those skills.

 Do you have a reading disability or auditory challenges yourself? You should have been able to administer the screening accurately. Did you do the tutor screening? If you did not do the tutor screening, you probably should go back and do that. It sounds like you have some challenges there yourself. Dyslexia is highly heritable, genetic, a known thing. Have you had his hearing checked? At our big state university you can get that done for free through their school of audiology. Might be something to do, just to be sure. 

Your next question though is whether you want evals to get the SLDs diagnosed. If you go ahead and get a full psych eval (with a psychologist) they will diagnose the SLDs and get you paper trail. You can use that paper trail to get access to the National Library Service/BARD and free audiobooks. You're going to need that paper trail going forward to get accommodations, so it's a good idea to go ahead and get the evals NOW and get that baseline.

So you want a psych who specializes in dyslexia. Or you know around here I can find a reading tutor who will do the CTOPP and a reading achievement test for $75 and write a letter saying it's dyslexia. That would be enough. Some kind of baseline. The CTOPP is the test you really want for that baseline, and it doesn't matter how you get it. If your insurance will cover evals, go that way. If not, you can use the ps or a reading tutor or whatever. 

Once you have that baseline CTOPP, go ahead and begin your intervention. You will want to work on phonemic awareness first, using something meant for dyslexia. I used LIPS, but FIS is probably find. Barton is EXCELLENT, so the question is only whether you will do it or a someone else. You need to do the tutor screening and call Barton and talk it through with her. She's wonderful and will talk with you if you call. :smile:

Actually he passed all 3 sections. According to Ms. Barton on the video as well as the Student Screening Answer Sheet Task A is allowed a Maximum Wrong of 1 (he got 0 wrong), Task B is allowed Maximum Wrong of 1 (which he got 1 wrong), and Task C is allowed a Maximum of "Correct After Repeat of 6 (he got 3 in that column) and Maximum Wrong of 2 (he got 1 wrong). Ms Barton explained at the end of the screening video that if they got MORE than the maximum allowed they had failed the screening and were not ready to start. 

Yes I did do the Tutor Screening Test before administering the screening to DC. 

I'm waiting to see how things go with the Vision Screening before taking the step to decide whether we will pursue more evals and I think the facility we are going to might be a good source of referral to someone in our area. 

He has had a complete hearing eval last summer. I requested one set up during his well visit last year because I had some concerns. It was administered by an Auditory Specialist in our area. The only thing she found was he had pressure on his ear drums probably from allergy induces fluid build up.

On 5/31/2019 at 3:57 PM, Mbelle said:

Dh does B-12 before and after surgeries.  Also he refuses Versed and since then he's not had any short term memory losses.

I have been supplementing B12 daily for several years now via a special compound prescription that also includes Vit D3 and a special form of methylfolate.  

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On 5/31/2019 at 10:46 AM, mrsfellman said:

I plan to re-start reading with him after our Eval in a few weeks. Would you all recommend I look at re-starting AAR or look at the Barton Lessons?

 

Both are great programs, so there's not a right or wrong here. It's possible, if he has vision processing issues, that they will want you to wait a bit before restarting anything. When he's ready though, since you already have AAR 1, I would probably try restarting that but following it how it's written (doing all of the exercises, following the blending procedure etc...) and see how it goes. It's worked well for many students, even those with severe dyslexia, vision processing issues, or other struggles, but don't expect it to be a magic bullet or work overnight--there just aren't shortcuts or quick answers for students with learning issues! The company provides ongoing support, so call or email with questions if you get stuck at some point. I hope it goes better for you both the next time around! 

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7 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

Actually he passed all 3 sections. According to Ms. Barton on the video as well as the Student Screening Answer Sheet Task A is allowed a Maximum Wrong of 1 (he got 0 wrong), Task B is allowed Maximum Wrong of 1 (which he got 1 wrong), and Task C is allowed a Maximum of "Correct After Repeat of 6 (he got 3 in that column) and Maximum Wrong of 2 (he got 1 wrong). Ms Barton explained at the end of the screening video that if they got MORE than the maximum allowed they had failed the screening and were not ready to start. 

Yes I did do the Tutor Screening Test before administering the screening to DC. 

I'm waiting to see how things go with the Vision Screening before taking the step to decide whether we will pursue more evals and I think the facility we are going to might be a good source of referral to someone in our area. 

He has had a complete hearing eval last summer. I requested one set up during his well visit last year because I had some concerns. It was administered by an Auditory Specialist in our area. The only thing she found was he had pressure on his ear drums probably from allergy induces fluid build up.

Ooo, you're right, my bad! Don't know how I missed that. It has been ages since I did it with my ds. (He was 5.) Even so, it's a pretty significant showing. I don't think the vision explain that, which is why I'd be wanting that baseline CTOPP. The only thing the Barton screener is telling you is whether he has enough working memory and phonemic awareness to go into Barton or any other OG based program, NOT whether he has dyslexia or not. 

If you want free OG materials, the MA Rooney foundation has an entire OG curriculum online for free. http://www.marooneyfoundation.org/professional-learning.aspx

As far as AAR vs. Barton, Barton is aimed at a slightly older student, 3rd and up. I used it with my ds starting at age 6, and it's a little mature. You can do it, but AAR is going to be well-organized. What you might do, and this is just a suggestion, is start with whichever one you find a deal on first. Like watch for AAR and Barton and if you find a deal on one or the other start there. Barton is your tank. It's super thorough, super explicit, and it's like saying if I bring in a tank can I BLOW THIS UP. Absolutely. I used AAS with my dd after her vision therapy as a complete refresher and AAR pre with my ds. AAR pre was not enough for my ds, so I never tried her other levels of AAR. They're definitely a take on OG and fine content. If you get into them and are like this isn't going well, I need more expansion of concepts, we're bogged down, then sell and move on to Barton or Wilson with a tutor or some kind of customized OG. You definitely have to meet the dc where he is. If you buy the AAR used, you'll be able to sell it off for what you paid, meaning it wasn't an $$ try. And if you have a sense based on looking at the materials online, go with that gut sense, sure. My ds has needed more customization than either of those programs. It's not like any one program suits all people all the way. In general, you're probably good going with Barton and crapshoot (maybe, maybe not) with AAR. But if you get it used and sell it used, you could try AAR without harm.

The baseline CTOPP and the diagnosis would get you access to BARD and get you going with anything co-morbid like ADHD, suspected SLDs in math or writing, etc. Earlier IQ scores are going to be more accurate (or so I was told by a psych) for kids with SLDs, so that's another consideration. The IDA is now recommending diagnosis of dyslexia going into 1st, so you're just the right age to be getting this done, not jumping the gun at all. When the psych or whomever runs the CTOPP and looks at the total picture, it will be obvious. There's no need to wait till 3rd or something like they used to say.

Edited by PeterPan
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2 hours ago, MerryAtHope said:

since you already have AAR 1

Oh I missed that! You own it already? Hmm. Depends on his attitude. If he got burnt by it, move on, more fish in the sea. Positive attitude and learning vibes are worth a lot. That's why I used AAS after my dd's vision therapy, because she needed a fresh take on spelling. We had done years of SWR/WRTR, so we needed same gig a new way. 

So if he's burnt on AAR, try Barton or get a Wilson tutor. Have you thought about an in-person tutor? It sounds like you're pretty organized and want to do it yourself. You might like to use the time during his VT (or waiting for VT evals) to get some OG training. If you did that, then you wouldn't be tied to one curriculum or another but could do your own thing. Then you could be more flexible, bringing in his special interests, whatever, into your instruction. You might be able to get OG or Wilson training during a month this summer and be all ready to go when his other things wrap up.

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Oh I missed that! You own it already? Hmm. Depends on his attitude. If he got burnt by it, move on, more fish in the sea. Positive attitude and learning vibes are worth a lot. That's why I used AAS after my dd's vision therapy, because she needed a fresh take on spelling. We had done years of SWR/WRTR, so we needed same gig a new way. 

So if he's burnt on AAR, try Barton or get a Wilson tutor. Have you thought about an in-person tutor? It sounds like you're pretty organized and want to do it yourself. You might like to use the time during his VT (or waiting for VT evals) to get some OG training. If you did that, then you wouldn't be tied to one curriculum or another but could do your own thing. Then you could be more flexible, bringing in his special interests, whatever, into your instruction. You might be able to get OG or Wilson training during a month this summer and be all ready to go when his other things wrap up.

Yes we do already have AAR Level 1 and also the Pre-Reading (for DS#3 who turned 5 back in April). I had originally bought AAR Level to do with the DC I've been asking about back 2 years ago when he was heading into Kindergarten and we were planning to Homeschool. However, the week before school started we switched gears and put both older boys into the Private School. That's where he had the exposure to Abeka. Since returning them to home this school year I have only had him read from the story books and have not even touched the teacher's manual or the activity book. I realize now that that was a huge mistake. To be honest it has been an overwhelming year for us all and since it is such a fight to get him to do anything that isn't his idea I have let him play and just be ALOT and focused more on my 4th grader. 

My own personal home education was very lacking in grammar and L.A. in general. I now my Mom struggled to teach me to read (probably because I have dyslexia issues) and she still to this day doesn't see any need for children to "learn to diagram sentences". Working through MCT Island levels with my oldest DS has caused a giant light bulb in my brain to light up and I'm now finally in my 30's understanding parts of speech/sentences. That said, I still personally struggle with spelling issues, reading new to me words. I've also had to watch when I check my oldest DS's spelling because I have on occasion visually swapped letters in a word that he wrote correctly but my brain insists on swapping the letters around. Those moments are not terribly often but have happened and have happened more than once. For those reasons I feel a little "out of my league" when dealing with any curriculum that is not holding my through the process. Now Math, Science & Music. I'm good there and feel like I can handle coming up with my own stuff. I have a degree in Music and taught private piano, violin and guitar for 9 yrs before taking a break due to kids and my health.

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Yeah, AAR pre was underwhelming. We ended up using LIPS combined with Barton. My ds has ASD and apraxia (a motor planning problem of speech) on top of his SLDs, so he needed a lot of input a lot of different ways to get things to click. Just my two cents, but you're never wrong to go with the stronger tool. Most kids get through Barton 4 and are ready to jump. But if you're asking what is the most thorough, fully scripted program for dyslexia, definitely it's Barton. I think if you go to it, you're going to get over this hump. You've already used the reading materials for AAR, so you need to start fresh. Also he has phonemic awareness needs that are not being addressed with AAR. AAR is fine, but it's not the same tier of intervention, the same level of nitpicky, leave nothing to chances. Barton also weaves in some basic grammar exploration in the fluency practice. You might find it resonates with you.

When is his eye exam? That's interesting that you're having vision symptoms too. 

It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, so fully scripted is probably the way to go. If you do OG training, you'd be making your own lesson plans, which can be tedious. I think you'll find Barton a significant step up from what you've been doing.

12 hours ago, mrsfellman said:

To be honest it has been an overwhelming year for us all and since it is such a fight to get him to do anything that isn't his idea I have let him play and just be ALOT

Sigh, my ds is challenging too. Of course he has ASD2 and is sort of a pistol. Like he just wakes up and walks out of the house unless he has in his mind what the plan is and is onboard with it, lol. ADHD is about 60% comorbid with dyslexia, so it's not shocking that you're having some behavioral challenges. It's another reason to get that psych eval, get these things diagnosed. That way you can have the right words and connect with things that will help. With ADHD, we're going to talk about STRUCTURE. Means clear expectations, means knowing the plan. He can make the plan or you can take turns deciding what will be on the plan. Does not mean it has to be top-down at all! But depending on what is going on with his body, he might need a lot of support to get on board with the plan. Around that age, my dd was able to start using checklists for her plan for the day. My ds does not, but like I said he's a pistol. He's 2-3 years delayed on most things. But yes, structure, clear plans, these can help. 

What you can also do, if you're wanting to do a lot of intervention, is balance it out with things that are motivating. Is there anything he LIKES or is good at? Daily science kits, art, anything he's really into so he doesn't feel like his life SUCKS. You want it more like 50/50 or 60/40, not 90/10, kwim? Will he listen to read alouds? If you go to https://fab.lexile.com  you can find books by lexile index, which controls the syntactic complexity. You can filter by subjects/categories, in case there's something he particularly enjoys, like animals or transportation or whatever. Then look at the pages and use the picture books. You can read here https://mindwingconcepts.com/  and see the tons of free info they have on their blog and learn how to bring narrative language work into your read aloud time. It's something you can do while you're doing the vision stuff (if he ends up needing that), and it will build his vocabulary, syntax, and narrative language to make reading go better.

Read is not ONLY decoding, so these are other things you can do to help his reading while waiting on the vision question. Story Grammar Marker that I linked you to was developed by an SLP working in a dyslexia school.

 

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Elijah had his Eval yesterday by the Developmental Optometrist (they had a cancellation and moved us up) and I just got home this evening from my appointment to go over the results. In a nut shell, he IS having other eye troubles that his prescription isn't covering. I'll list the specific diagnosis below. I was blown away by the cost of their facilities coverage over the recommended 28 sessions. $5000. Obviously this is important and needs to be addressed. I popped over to the aforementioned Learning Challenges board to ask this question but I'll post it here as well. Is this something I can deal with solely at home or possible go through our local school system? Or do I need to bite that expensive bullet?

Convergence Excess
Pursuit Eye Movement Dysfunction
Saccadic Eye Movement Dysfunction
Spasm of Accommodation bilateral
Paresis of accommodation bilateral
Myopia bilateral

 

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Keep in mind that kids with dyslexia will sometimes look like they have issues with eye movement because they are scanning looking for something that makes sense to them, when reading. 

As for curriculum, we tried AAR and it did NOT work for my dyslexic. Not enough repetition. Kids with dyslexia need way more phonogram practice. What did work was doing level 1 of Barton, to start to rewire her brain and also to help me learn how to teach a dyslexic student. Then we switched to Abecedarian. We started with Short Level A, which is a sped up version of level A. Then did Levels B1 and B2, the regular levels of those. We powered through all three in I think 7 months, but she was a bit older. We also used the supplemental stuff on the website - those are VITAL to the program (and free). The eye spy pages are fantastic, and quick and easy. 

Abecedarian doesn't look like much, but man does it work!

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Dyslexia is phonological processing and is not an explanation for convergence excess, etc. My ds has dyslexia and flies through developmental vision exams. I just took him for the full exam, just to be absolutely sure. Dyslexia is not a vision problem. If you have a vision problem, treat your vision problem.

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