Monday, November 15, 2010

You only know what you know

One of my kids barely crawled. She transitioned into our home at seven months of age. She was already not showing any interest in scuttling across the floor. Sure enough, she did very little and ended up going straight to walking.

She was always on the lower end of those developmental charts. We didn't fret. The charts are averages. Yet, it was obvious that certain things took longer for her. We have just waited and given her the time and freedom to learn and explore and develop at her own pace.

She wants to read.

Well, she wants to WANT to read.

It's painful for her. She has her moments, but then the exhaustion overtakes her. At that point, even the simplest of words is overwhelming. She wants to quit, but she doesn't want to quit. She's just plain mad. It has continued to escalate.

We back up. We repeat lessons. We have been trying so very hard to keep the pace slow and follow her interests. Yet, we still find ourselves in these immense battles. Battles we are trying to avoid, and have no need for - just let it flow as she wants it to.

It finally began to click. Just as I said. She wants to WANT to read. Yet, reading quickly becomes unbelievably exhausting and then crosses into "impossible" within minutes. In a lot of cases, just backing up and saying, "No biggie. There's no reason to learn to read right now," would be ideal. But she is surrounded by readers. She watches her siblings and friends curl up with books for hours.

And she feels left out. She feels like the whole world is leaving her behind. She can't figure out why people would purposefully grab a book and a blanket and curl up to torture themselves!



There are definite signs of dyslexia. And for every sign, there are approaches and theories and programs. I am spending more time talking to people who actually struggle with reading and writing. I'm immersing myself in the people who live their lives in a left brained world, while their reading insists on existing on the flip side. People are coming out of the woodwork.

There are a lot of dang dyslexics out there! Who knew? But it's not like it comes up at dinner parties. However, because I am broaching the topic, I am finding person after person in our lives who have found their own way, in their own brains.

I am currently struggling with the best ways to feed her interests. We are searching out every audio resource we can find that meshes with her passions and her developmental level. We're already documentary junkies. Now that I can see the struggle clearly, I'm doing all I can to create an environment for her that meets her needs while not dumbing things down.

Easier said than done.

I welcome your own experiences, and your favorite resources - particularly on the grade school level. Most of the people I have talked to suffered through early years of unaware school teachers, miserable homework battles or programs that just left them more frustrated. So, yeah ... I welcome the flip side. The, um, right brain solutions, if you will.

(photo by Elizabeth Knox Photography - elizabeth@elizabethknox.net)

32 comments:

Jess said...

Best book I ever read on Dyslexia is "The Gift of Dyslexia, Revised and Expanded: Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read...and How They Can Learn" by Ronald D Davis

It is really worth checking out

Molly said...

I teach dyslexics how to read. Haha. This is my favorite topic! She needs direct instruction with a multisensory reading/writing curriculum. The one I got trained in is Preventing Academic Failure (pafprogram.com)

It's awesome. Look for someone who does Orton Gillingham/Multisensory reading instruction. Please feel free to email me at nobabynoblog@gmail.com and we can talk about it!

Kathleen said...

Christine,

Check out some of the links on my pages:
http://www.attachmentandintegrationmethods.com/treatments/nsm/

http://www.attachmentandintegrationmethods.com/treatments/kinesiology

Kathleen

Sylvia MiaSara Truewell said...

I echo Molly's advice. My kids did well with special instruction and programs/methods designed specifically for dyslexic kids.
In addition, they need to practice. Once they start to implement the new program, practice is key. We'd provide books on tape so she could participate in family reading times (and one of our girls found it really helpful to follow along in the book; the other, not so much). But we really liked the audio option, as it provided our dyslexic kids with a chance to enjoy books with the rest of the family during those quiet reading times. And as I mentioned, one of our girls found it really helpful to read along in the book.

-Truewell

Jillian said...

I am a teacher (k-6) and dyslexic. My mom came up with all kinds of tricks when I was learning to read. One of the easiest to implement is getting a colored see-through (think teal or rose) binder dividers and place it over the page you are trying to read. I can't explain it, even as a special educator, but it always helps me. I still use this trick when reading case studies. There is just something about NOT reading black on white that helps my brain. I hope this helps

ACSW said...

Please email me! I am a SPED teacher who works with Level III Juvenile Delinquents in DCS custody who are not allowed to attend public school. Most struggle with some degree of reading issues and layer on behavioral challenges :)

Spilman
teacherlady37059@yahoo.com

Cathy said...

I teach remedial reading (and I have 2 daughters adopted at 8 and 10 from Colombia this past February. I have really learned a lot from you -- thanks for your blog which I read practically daily!) and for teaching decoding I have found Phonics Blitz from Really Great Reading to be a great multi-sensory program. For fluency, check out Great Leaps, which is a really motivating and very simple to implement daily reading practice program. My students have also really benefited from books on tape. Also, if you haven't, look at Sally Shaywitz's book Overcoming Dyslexia which has a lot of great ideas. Good luck and I hope some of that is helpful!

Over Yonder said...

My daughter learned practically overnight. The child is never without a book. (9) My son? it has been a 5 year process..but he is DD and has PWSD. We have tried everything...and each thing would teach him a little bit...just a slow process. Have you tried the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons?" (of course it doesn't mean it is 100 EASY lessons for everyone) Also I have taught my son a lot of sight words. (DOLCH) He still reads at just a first grade + level...BUT if anyone asks what his favorite thing to do is he says READ. It makes my heart swell. He has loved books since being a baby and I'm glad the fact that he learns slower hasn't kept him from loving books. (and hearing stories read to him)

BTW your daughter is a doll! Would she enjoy books on CD to listen to?

SillyGooseMama said...

I think you will love this website--it changed my perspective forever. www.applestars.homeschooljournal.net Check out her pages listed on the right side of the blog. I have a "dyslexic" husband and two out of seven of my children are definitely "dyslexic" (a few are still too young to tell, though I have my suspicions). The bottom line for me is they learn when their brains are ready. Read aloud and books on tape in the meantime. We all learn things at different ages, when we're ready--tying shoes, riding two wheelers, reading:)

Deb said...

Our school district has started offering vision therapy scholarships to students and the results are AMAZING!! I had no idea there was a difference between vision and sight. And there are so many many different things that can contribute to vision issues and therefore reading/learning issues. And so many vision therapy options. I can't recommend checking into this strong enough!

JulzVP said...

I tutored a boy with dyslexia using this system. Super user friendly and the success rate is phenomonal! http://www.bartonreading.com/


The kids also gain so much self confidence through it. It's worth every penny!

Christine said...

SillyGooseMama,

I spent all day yesterday on that site. Seeing how we are a "give it time" kind of family, I am falling in love with her, and seeing the positive in so much we were already (not) doing.

Tracy said...

and on top of all the wonderful teachers giving you wonderful online resources - http://www.rfbd.org/

QueenB said...

One of my daughters did not crawl either - she went right to walking. She also is mildly dyslexic. Our chiropractor worked with her; when a child misses the crawling stage, they miss an important patterning ritual which affects the ability to read. We did "cross crawl" patterning exercises with her, where she had to complete 25 reptitions without error, or had to start again. She couldn't do 1 in the beginning. Once she started learning how to crawl and return to that stage in her brain, her reading came quickly. (she was 6 when we started this; she is now 23.)In the beginning, so as to encourage her, we worked with the sight readers "Dick and Jane". As a phonics homeschooler, this went against my grain, but it served the purpose of allowing her to feel she had achieved and progressed. I find the cross/crawl patterning works wonders when my children are disregulated as well. See if you can dig up some video instruction on line - basically, they look like they are crawling in place, lying on their back with you helping to move their arms and head in the beginning. Blessings.

Susan T. said...

Christine, check out this article at Additude Magazine about how poetry reading & reciting can help dyslexia...

http://www.additudemag.com/addnews/41/2507.html

Meg said...

My son is dyslexic and it took him until the 2nd grade to even recognize the whole alphabet correctly. We got him Orton-Gillingham tutoring and that was what worked in teaching him to read. You can find programs like that online (multi-sensory) to use for homeschooling. Right now my son is in the 7th grade and still hates books (he also has memory problems that add to the issue) but technically he can read at a 6th grade level, which is good for someone with his level of disability. I'll be shocked the day he picks up a book to read for pleasure though :)

Sunday Kofffon Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunday Kofffon Taylor said...

Christine!
I am dyslexic, reading and writing are very time consuming and frustrating for me. I eventually learned to read, (sill painfully slowly), and write, although I avoid hand writing at almost all cost. I can (kind of) get by with spell check, the thesaurus and my 12 year-old proof reader. I still make embarrassing mistakes from time to time, but I DO GET BY, AND SHE WILL TOO.

I think books on CD (unabridged) are great, because I am sure her comprehension exceeds her reading ability. Also I think content helped, I didn’t read on my own accord until I was in 6th grade and then I jumped in to the classics years above my grade level. It is bad enough when it is hard to read, reading a story that sucks, is just grueling!

(((hug her for me)))

Struggling to Stand said...

The way to make up for not crawling is to crawl. (Actually, the thing done on hands and knees is creeping. You crawl when your belly is on the floor.) Both are important, and not just to helping remediate dyslexia. Also patterning, as another commenter wrote. We do Neurological Reorganization with our 2 younger boys. The 9-year-old went from "reading, ho hum" to "READ! NOW! NEED MORE BOOKS!" in just a few weeks. At the very, very least the creeping and crawling are great vision therapy that help the eyes do what they need to do (focus, converge, track) for reading.

lana said...

Christine,
REading this reminds me of A LOT of the research I'm doing right now on Sensory Integration for Kathryn. There is definitly a correlation with crawling and reading. Some people have mentioned it above I think you should really think sensory. THe "cross crawl" retraining is important and may really help the brain make the "reconnect" I'll try to email you some of the stuff I've been finding out.

love this parenting journey we are all on... keeps us on our toes. so thankful for a community of Moms to help

juliebeem said...

Christine,

I want to echo those who have recommended neurodevelopmental reorg - and crawling! My daughter's crawling, creeping and patterning has done wonders for her reading ability. (She has severe auditory and visual processing, but no actual dyslexia diagnosis.) The tracking, convergences and moving messages from one side of brain to another all develop in those early crawling and infant movements. Our school is about to start her on Fast ForWord, which I'm excited about as well.

In advocating for those with dyslexia, I know that the Orton-Gillingham based methods are what's needed.

Annette Cecilie said...

So much great information. Are you familiar with the book, Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Read by Carmen & Geoffrey McGuinness? My partner used the book to teach one foster child, as well as our adopted daughter to read. Our daughter, adopted at age 5 was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities, and we were told she would never be able to read well. She was reading above her grade level within a year of starting the program. Couldn't recommend it more highly. Good luck.

Kristin said...

We just waited. And it worked. My son is almost 11 and has been reading very well for almost a year now. He also didn't color preschool coloring pages or draw at all until he was 8, and then he colored all summer. Now his handwriting is better than his brother's, who has been writing for years longer.

It was VERY HARD to wait. We did short little sessions with phonics, he knew all of the letter sounds, etc, but got exhausted trying to read. One day it clicked. Period.

In the meantime, we saturated his world with read-alouds (usually a good hour a day - siblings involved, too). He listened to every unabridged audio book we could get our hands on in the youth section of our library. We fed his need for great stories and literature and even just entertainment and relaxing through audio means. We often listened with him - in the care for example- and shared the stories together. He thrived on it.

I worried that once he had to read it for himself, maybe he would no longer enjoy it or retain as much of the stories as he was auditorily. But all of the worry was for NOTHING!!!!! He is amazing at what he can read, understand and remember now.

He has never been diagnosed with "dyslexia", but I am certain he would qualify. He still struggles with it every day - mixing letters around in words, writing letters & numbers backwards, etc. But he is always, slowly, learning and progressing. And it has not affected his reading ability at this point - which is far above grade level.

I just wanted you to hear another wait and see story because I know how HARD it was for me to wait, even though I knew it was right. God knows just what your daughter needs, and he's probably telling you. ;) Good luck listening, and waiting.

Kristin

Wendy said...

There might be a different issue at hand. Three out of four diagnosed dyslexics that come to our practice actually have a vision disorder. One easily cured. There is the part of vision that glasses can help.Then there is the part of vision where the two eyes have to work together and the brain has to accept the signals. Any breakdown in that system leads to people thinking a child is learning disabled, dyslexic or even ADHD. Have her evaluated at an eye doctor who knows about vision therapy and developmental eye issues. it may be a simple fix. I have seen it over and over again. Please consider this idea.

Jaimie said...

This might be completely off the wall, but in one of my classes we learned that adding color to the reading can be extremely helpful. You put a strip of highlighting tape, over a piece of transparency film and use that as a reading guide. Try different colors and see if it helps. Oftentimes, kids enjoy school things more if they can do them on the computer. I don't know what level of elementary school you are talking about, but you could try starting with www.starfall.com or http://www.gamequarium.com/readquarium/ Good luck!!

SillyGooseMama said...

Christine,
Glad you found it helpful and encouraging. We are a "give it time" kind of family too. Being a very lazy mama I'm all about (not) doing;)

Jess said...

I didn't really have time to comment properly yesterday, so I came back to find that you already have plenty of info to chew on. I just wanted to add that the reason I loved reading that book "The Gift of Dyslexia" is because it talks about some of the positive aspects of having a brain created in this particular way. I have dyscalcula and struggled with feeling "stupid" most of my school career. I read this when I was in highschool (being homeschooled) and it all just clicked for me and I realised that I am not really stupid and the differences in my brain are actually a special gift from God to me and the world!

Sunday Kofffon Taylor said...

@ Jess, you are exactly right!

triplehmoms said...

Have you looked at the Brain Balance Program? I just finished reading the "at home" program book and it had good information on re-wiring the brain. Just might help her??!

Elizabeth said...

My husband has severe Dyslexia and has said the book The Gift of Dyslexia by Ron Davis is one of the best books he has come across on the subject. It explained dyslexia in such a way that I was finally able to see what he was going through from a fresh perspective. The book left him feeling much more positive about his abilities and talents.

J. Bee said...

Hi My name is Jessica and I home school my six children. I know you probably have had enough advice but your daughter reminds me a lot of my five year old daughter.. .
I do not think she has any developmental delays per se but she has some sensitivities that are hard to put my finger on. . . that include answering nonsensically while still speaking clear English, if that makes sense and some reversal of simple words or certain chunks of words. We became her parents when she 8mo old. So there may be some parallels.
We do use 100 easy lessons but we waited until she had a clear idea of what each letter was and what its main sound was (even if it had two sounds)before we started formal lessons. The letters and their sound were introduced with songs, whole alphabet quick (under five min) sound repetition, and introducing the letters as a characters/people (letter people curriculum). Letter people helped her connect to reading on an emotional level which is appropriate as she is very passionate and sensitive to emotions, her own and when not overwhelmed that of others. She really loves to write her name on her art. Art is her main passion and words are appealing to her as art. She copies words as block letters or designs.
Games for Reading is a great book that may help.

Heather said...

I know I'm commenting on this long after you posted it, but I believe I have some information that can be very helpfull for you. I have 3(adopted) kids with dyslexia and I homeschool them. Although I try to inspire my kids to want to learn and I don't like to force them to do things related to education (I want it to become something they love), I have found a program developed by a lady who homeschooled her learning disabled son, then went back to work as a resource teacher in the public school system. I have been using it with my kids (ages 10, 8 and 7) for 2 months and the results have amazed me! They now are asking me to do their work with them and they are feeling smart for the first time. This lady's name is Dianne Craft and her website address is www.diannecraft.org. She sells the program online on this site. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at hporter11@gmail.com