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Starting out with developmentally delayed children

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    Starting out with developmentally delayed children

    My husband and I are in the process of fostering/adopting a sibling group of four, adding them to our existing seven children (a mix of biological and adopted). The children's ages are 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, and 10 months. We've been homeschooling with Mother of Divine Grace, but over time I've diverged quite a bit from their default recommendations on materials, finding things that work better for our family dynamics and the individual children's needs.

    The other day I bought Simply Classical, and as I've started reading it I'm becoming very excited about the possibilities this opens up for our family. While our biological children learn very easily, our three adopted children struggle a bit more (two of them have minor struggles but generally so far are able to keep pace, more or less, but one of them is a bit more noticeably delayed), and of the four we're fostering to adopt, one (age 4) seems "normal" except for a moderate/severe speech delay, but the 6-year-old and 3-year-old twins are more significantly delayed; we wouldn't be surprised if one of the twins' IQ was in the 70s.

    Obviously my first step is to continue reading Simply Classical, and take notes of specific things to do with the children, especially to increase their vocabulary, but I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for specific resources that could be helpful. Is IQ testing useful? If so, how do I go about that? Are there sets of flashcards to improve children's vocabularies that are particularly good?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions as I read more of the book, but I wanted to reach out and see what suggestions and resources people have so I can start figuring out how to approach educating the children who have more significant delays. I'm so glad I came across this book and forum - I found these at exactly the right time and I'm very hopeful about the prospect of giving even the delayed children the best education I can.
    Mom to 11:
    Biological - ages 8, 6, 3, 1
    Adopted - ages 8, 7, 6
    Fostering to adopt - ages 7, 5, 3, 3

    Wow, Kendra! You have a very busy household. I am in awe. I am also a mom to a mix of bio and adopted. 2 of my kids are in the MP cores and I use the SC curriculum with my other 2. My youngest is 6 (almost 7), and we adopted him a year ago. He has CP and a cognitive delay and he had to learn English...still learning. His CP impacts his speech and fine motor quite a lot. Last school year we did SC level A and I am a huge fan for it’s impact on speech and language. The method of reading the books each day with targeted questions for vocabulary developmental that were paired with the pictures really helped my son. More so than the flash cards that his speech therapist recommended. We are actually now just focusing on read alouds with quality pictures and using them for expanded vocabulary development in speech. We of course still do flash cards, but now they are not for learning vocabulary but for motor planning issues related to CP and the words are for syllable types. Anyway, all that to say, I have loved the approach that the SC curriculum has taken for my kiddo with delays. We are in level B this year, and he is progressing nicely. We work hard on doing all that is recommended and he is making progress. We have also done some additional therapy involving games and reflex integration, but honestly, the consistency of the SC curriculum I feel has been the best thing for him. I highly recommend it!

    Our other daughter is 9, almost 10 and in SC 4. Again, the gradual progression of the lessons and activities and the review have been enoirnous for making progress in her week areas. She is not cognitively delayed, but she does have moderate to severe learning disabilities and needs the extended time and gradual progression in the skills areas.
    Emily J

    2018-2019 School Year
    DD (11)-MP 5 core
    DD (9)-SC 4
    DD (8)-MP 2 core
    DS (6)-SC B

    *Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task but you will succeed if you persevere: and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to obtain something beautiful is ever lost. ~Helen Keller*


      Welcome, Kendra! As you continue reading in the book, you will find many tips for securing and navigating formal evaluations.

      As Emily mentioned, we now offer a full Simply Classical Curriculum! This was not available at the time of the book's publication, but home school families are teaching successfully from the Simply Classical Curriculum with children who have autism, Down syndrome, learning and language disabilities, and more.

      One of our Simply Classical families adopted six children with intellectual disability and chose to teach all from Simply Classical Level 1, in which we teach phonics and reading. You could group your children by ability and readiness in this manner, rather than by age, and teach in groups if needed. You would then need only extra consumable items per child.

      We have free online readiness assessments to help with placement,, and a free Simply Classical Journal, which is our catalog/magazine filled with all of our resources.

      We are happy you found us!


        Where to find assessments: your first contact should be your pediatrician. They should be able to direct you to early intervention services. If you suspect a child with a 70 IQ, there shouldn't be much argument or need for you to justify this.

        Are they worth it? Yes. I wouldn't just do an IQ test, though. I would request a full psycho/ educational assessment. Now, this might not be possible given the age of the child. But, a low IQ rarely occurs in a vacuum...other things will coexist and be impacted. Those details need to be teased out and addressed.

        Concerns: most of the free services associated with early intervention are provided through the local school district after the age of 2. I never had a problem with this, but I know it's unacceptable or concerning to some families. Figure out where you stand on this issue. Know that you can deny services at anytime.

        Also know that these assessments are not a one and done kind of deal. It's like shoe buying for kids...just because you had their feet sized the last time you bought shoes, you can't assume to know what size their feet are now or exactly when they will need shoes again. I would recommend a reassessment every few years or when new troubling signs occur.

        And I'm delighted you found MP. Our family has used the curriculum for several years now and couldn't be happier with the results.
        Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

        DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
        DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
        DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

        We've completed:
        Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
        Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.


          Welcome! What a rich and wonderfully busy household you have! We are plowing our way through SC B w/ my son who at least at one time was diagnosed with developmental delay. I have to say, now with a few more years experience under my belt, it is so hard to understand what exactly diagnoses DO for the parent. If you asked my son's geneticist, she would say his diagnoses don't tell her anything unless there's enough data to show a correlation but not causation of certain comorbidities that a child may experience. If you ask my son's neurodevelopmental pediatrician, he would say that there are patterns, but each child is unique. His famous line was, "Your son will tell us who your son is going to be as he gets to each age and stage." They even recently pulled my son's ASD diagnosis. Was it all his therapies? Did God heal him? Was it never it to begin with but it helped us get related services? Was it our concerted effort to raise him without TV/screens, homeschool him, and socialize him with NT (neurotypical children) who speak well and behave well? Was he always going to still have his disabilities but track this way? It's all very fuzzy.

          I cannot imagine your state has not done a thorough investigation into these children's etiologies of delay and disability. At this point, I would think the children are tired of sitting in therapists offices for hours on end, getting prompted by strangers for language and compliance. Seek the therapies they recommend, but don't make it life-consuming. I spent too many hours doing that in the beginning. I gave up my child for 25 hours a week for almost 2 years, subjecting him to all manner of tests, assessments and therapies. None of it bore any fruit until he was developmentally ready. And when it came, it came out of nowhere. One day he could barely sit, the next day he wanted to focus for 15-20 minutes on a book or toy.

          If I could have told my then-self anything, I would have said to read books for as long they will let you. Let them sit in your lap and read, read, read. Point stuff out. Sit them next to you while you cook meals. Let 45 minutes of your daily SC B curriculum be showing them how to get dressed every morning, make their beds, brush their teeth, put clothes away, empty trash, sort spoons/forks/knives unloading the dishwasher, and set the table for meals. I *CRIED* tears when my son first thought to set a napkin for every person at the dinner table, saying our names. At the time, he didn't make eye contact, barely spoke at all, and was in his own little world. It was sublime! (Today, my son asked, "Mom, are meatballs protein? Because presently, I don't like meatballs!")

          You are doing a wonderful thing schooling them all together. The younger ones are going to learn compassion & patience. The older ones are going to see (hopefully) bodies under control, good manners, gentle/kind speech, good reading and positive attitudes with lessons. I cannot tell how much my son being around his older sister has helped. As any older kids go up in MP, the younger ones will get to hear all this awesome Recitation. Some kids, even ones with DD, rock the recitation. On a recent trip to the MP Winter Regional Conference, my son recited the 1st half of the 23rd Psalm, a poem, Genesis 1:1, 2 prayers, the months of the year, days of the week, seasons, 1st and current president, and some random math recitation bits from MP2. His grandparents, who have prayerfully walked this journey with him, were standing there with jaws on the floor. Who ever could have thought he would be here? We do zero therapy now and have since a year ago. We had almost 3 years of therapy, so I know when to know I need help.

          Blessings, mama!

          Mama to 2, Married 18 years

          DS 6-MPK with SC1 Phonics & Math
          Fall 2020


            Thank you all for your responses! I'm excited about really jumping in and getting started (we're just now in the process of transitioning the three-year-old twins to our family, so we haven't really had a chance to "settle in" with everyone yet). We have so much going on right now with medical appointments, court hearings, establishing a new "pecking order" in the family, etc., and now adding "research school curriculum" to the list, I sometimes wonder how I'm going to manage it all, but I know it'll work out in the end! I'll definitely be posting more on this forum to get everyone's thoughts on things; I've been homeschooling for a few years now but didn't know a forum like this existed ... I'm looking forward to learning from all of you!
            Mom to 11:
            Biological - ages 8, 6, 3, 1
            Adopted - ages 8, 7, 6
            Fostering to adopt - ages 7, 5, 3, 3