Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dyslexia Therapy with NON-dyslexic kids? YES INDEED! Part 1: My Son

      Sounds weird right?  I thought so too when it first started rolling around in my head.  I'll be honest though, it never would have crossed my mind if it hadn't been for the fact that the Do-it Yourself Homeschool Journals (that  we adore) are produced by/are the same company as Dyslexia Games.
     I joined the DyslexiaGames fb page in order to stay up to date on their homeschooling products and because of that, I received info in my news feed about dyslexia stuff.
     Why does this matter?  We are getting there.  Before moving forward though, let me tell you about my middle son A10.

A's story:  A tale of frustration...

     A10 gets mentioned alot when it comes to certain themes:  reluctant reading, reluctant hand writing, very little reading progression, inability to spell, difficult-ness in general, being a "hard" toddler and younger kid, impulsiveness, low early language skills (very early on and not for very long), etc in "those" types of areas.  At 10 years old now, he still keeps me on my toes BUT he is really pretty easy.  Consistency in parenting, constantly going after the heart issues, and continually allowing there to be Grace and Mercy in all areas with him and schooling has brought us to this point.  But man-alive!!!  Things could have been so much better, so much sooner!  To really understand all this, you need to know about A.

A when he was 18 months old
     As a young toddler, 18 months, he didn't say a whole lot.  He had started to talk around 10 months but as soon as he could walk, the language came to a halt... like he didn't really use it at all.  When he started talking consistently is was like a cave man.  He said "ME.  ME A"  the only other thing he said for a long time was "BAH" and depending on the voice inflection it meant different things.  BUT, also at 18 months he could ride a 2 wheel razor scooter 4 miles, without help or complaint.  I figured, and saw, that his active skills where moving along at a huge rate and his language skills just weren't.
     A10 continued in this same manner:  super active, super impulsive, super good at physical activity.  His language skills were fine (other than the weird start he caught right up and was never behind).  A was a super creative, loving, naughty, difficult little kid!  I say that with all the love in my heart.  To say he was difficult is an understatement.  A was busy, impulsive, and... self-centered to a fault.
  Many, many, many people told me that they thought he was ADHD.  But I knew him and I knew he wasn't.... and really it wouldn't have mattered, I wouldn't have done med's anyway.  A is a lot of things but ADD/ADHD is not one of them.  A is a boy.  A foolish boy.  He was extremely  impulsive  and the punishment was always worth the crime for him.  What he needed was good, old fashioned parenting and a Jesus moment (or two)!

     When A10 started  kindergarten, he did so as a "young" student, as his birthday is in August.  I didn't really think much about it; his oldest sister, F16's birthday, is the day before his and she did fine.  A10 was very bright, liked learning (though he didn't really like formal education type stuff) and was 5 so why not.  He was excited about school and likes to do things, so really, why should I have worried?

A when he was 5.  He was sooooo good at
physical things, like gymnastics.  Skill wise, he
was moved up to the "boys pre- comp".  This is
a class with mostly boys around 10 years old.
Needless to say, he was kicked out of that class
for not obeying his coaches and licking the floor mats.
Praise God for Coach Mike,  The only Coach
A could work with.  Coach Mike called A
"Hotrod".  He had a mohawk and tats.  A liked him.
     OH GOOD GRIEF!!!  The things I know now that I didn't know then!!!!  Long story short- this has been one huge painstaking problem!  You see, by this time in my homeschooling, my whole goal for kindy was to teach them to read!  Well, A10 more or less knew his letters and sounds but could not seem to retain anything.  He became easily frustrated and so did I.
     "Okay... he's young!  He will be ready next year!"
     Well, we did the same thing for 1st grade.... and 2nd grade... and 3rd grade.... and most of 4th grade too!  I just could not figure it out!  What WAS his PROBLEM??????  How is it that he could know so much and nothing at the same time?  Meanwhile, his math took off once we started teaching textbooks (which talks to him- no reading involved) and he loved other areas of school.... as long as there was no reading and preferably very little writing involved.

     I did everything I thought was right.  I separated reading and writing from the other things in his schooling.  We did everything verbally.  His comprehension was fine.  Creativity was fine.  Love of learning was fine... although he was not that impressed with anything that was more academic than educational.
     I soothed myself with so many "excuses" that seemed legit in order to feel like it was all fine:

  • he's young
  • he's A
  • he's working on so many heart issues
  • he really could be in the grade under
  • some kids don't get reading until they are older
  • he's doing fine in math (more on that later and there are some reasons)
  • he just isn't ready.
  • he's kind of pouty about it because his sister (who is in the same grade but almost a year older) is advanced.
  • he wold just rather be playing.
Back when school was more boring.  You
can't see A's face but he was NOT HAPPY.
     Now all of those things were REAL AND LEGIT but they were not bridging the gap.  Whatever that gap was!  I knew that something was amiss.  See, there were some things I didn't see in A that I saw in the other kids.  Differences with learning that I didn't see in my older children:
  • He didn't try reading/writing on his own.
  • Never asked me how to spell things.
  • Beyond his name he seemed to have no need for words.
  • It took him a lonnnng time to concrete letters and sounds and words as far as a written thing, the other kids never seemed to have that problem.
     I tried not to be too stressed out.  After-all, there is still time and I just figured that he would eventually get it. In the mean time, everything I chose for him to do was based on him not needing to write a lot or read much.  We still read out loud and listened to audio books- which he liked.  I just kept plugging along and figured that it would all just fix itself.

LINKS for this series:
Part 1,
Part 2
Part 3

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