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How to modify this year

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    How to modify this year

    I don't know why I had in mind that OT would be a magic bullet with my youngest, or that he would even cooperate particularly well. I know better than to think what was true for one child will be true for another one (but I still did it). My oldest's best quality as a small child was that he wanted to please. He would attempt anything a therapist asked him to, and he made better progress than they thought possible because of it. My youngest has a much more difficult personality. He's not inclined to cooperate with anything or anyone. He's been attending OT for a couple of months now, and hasn't made much progress. I know it's very early in the process, but it looks like everything is going to take longer with him due to his personality.

    We did JrK this last year (beginning in January). We still have some of it incomplete. (He's memorized everything except the pledge, we haven't finished the writing yet). He is very ready to read. He knows his letters and most of the sounds they make. He can rhyme words and isolate beginning and ending sounds. He's got the interest to learn. Math he can count into the thousands by ones, into the hundreds by twos, to about 45 by threes, 60 by fives, and who knows how high by tens and hundreds. He has the under 10 math facts memorized by oral answer, and can add up to higher numbers. He thought of the negative number concept by himself a few months ago and can do simple addition and subtraction with them, he's working (orally) on the concept of place value in higher number addition and subtraction (like two and three digit).

    Writing is still not ready even with the year delay. He is weak in the trunk, arms, and hands and it impacts his writing. He is frustrated very easily, and has serious perfectionism problems (if it isn't going to look perfect, then I'm not even going to try). He is very stubborn. I know he has to write and has to learn to overcome these behaviors, but I don't want to hold his reading and everything else to his writing level. How would you recommend adjusting the Kindergarten program to work with him?
    Miah - married to Warcabbage, 3 boys, BS in social work, AS in Electrical Engineering Technology

    Evulcarrot - 18, freshman in college, Medical Technology , mild autism
    Battlebroccoli - 17, lives with grandma, attends a special high school program part time
    Doomsprout - 10, highly verbal moderate autism, anxiety, motor delays, sensory processing issues - SC 4 with R&S 4

    #2
    Originally posted by Miah View Post
    He's been attending OT for a couple of months now, and hasn't made much progress. I know it's very early in the process, but it looks like everything is going to take longer with him due to his personality....

    We did JrK this last year (beginning in January). We still have some of it incomplete. (He's memorized everything except the pledge, we haven't finished the writing yet). He is very ready to read.

    Writing is still not ready even with the year delay. He is weak in the trunk, arms, and hands and it impacts his writing. He is frustrated very easily, and has serious perfectionism problems (if it isn't going to look perfect, then I'm not even going to try). He is very stubborn. I know he has to write and has to learn to overcome these behaviors, but I don't want to hold his reading and everything else to his writing level. How would you recommend adjusting the Kindergarten program to work with him?
    Hi, Miah.

    It's all so hard, isn't it. I can "hear" the frustration. I feel for you. I'm sure others do too.

    The good news is that your little Sprout is very bright. You're a smart mom to teach him to read when he is both ready and willing!

    As for MPK - see this from the First Start Reading directions, p. 10:
    Printing, an important pathway of the learning process, is an integral part of First Start Reading. Some children, however, are reading-ready before their motor skills are developed enough for printing. If this is the case with your child, you may use FSR without the printing component.

    You have some choices:

    - Teach reading with printing, because the printing does assist learning. Further, his motivation to read might improve his ability and willingness to write.

    - Teach reading and other components of MP K with partial printing. For example, require printing only on the odd or even rows. (Let him choose, if this helps.)

    - Teach reading without printing. Modify other writing elements of MP K similarly. Allow oral answers when possible. Meanwhile, continue working on his writing and fine-/gross-motor skills.


    Regardless of the academic modifications you select, you will need to address the behavioral issues. With your older boys back in school, you will not want too much intensity between you and your youngest. If you want to pursue this here, perhaps we can brainstorm some suggestions.

    You might also consider a different OT, if other options exist. While my daughter was happily compliant with every therapist from toddlerhood through the teen years, my son performed really well with only about 1 in 5! You might request another therapist, if the center is large enough to offer more than one. Just assure the current therapist that you know your son (not the therapist) is making therapy difficult.

    If you have only one OT choice, consider linking greater consequences to his misbehavior and special incentives to his compliance in therapy. You also mentioned trunk and limb weakness. You might consider a PT evaluation. Of course, neither OT nor PT (nor even academics) will solve all of the problems. As you know, everything is multi-faceted with our children!


    Sincere congratulations on all that you accomplished in his JrK year. Your son's mathematics abilities and reading readiness reveal a bright mind. You are giving him an education in spite of his other challenges.

    Keep up the good work, Miah!

    Cheryl

    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your reply. I think we'll go with the partial printing. Being able to choose which ones to skip should go over very well with him. Feeling in control helps him behave. We've had a bad week here. A nasty storm damaged our roof, but the insurance is going to pay for it, it's just something of a hassle. (Storms are bad, because the Sprout works himself up into such a nervous state that he often ends up vomiting. If the tornado sirens go off, it's even worse)

      Behavior wise this week we've been at very basic just safety levels such as, no spitting, no hitting, no chewing on your toenails, don't eat dirt, keep your pants on, no screeching at top volume. Basically it's been a toddler week not just in actions but in his communication. He still says plenty, but it really has little relation to anything anyone has said to him. The big kids had been at my mother's house for two weeks, and them coming home threw everything out of whack. It is getting better, and I think once school starts and he has quiet part of the day and they have a break from him part of the day that both sides will at least get back to can be communicated with levels. We are also working on getting some help from a behaviorist.

      This week is his last week with this therapist. She was only here for the summer. I hope we get a good one for the fall. There is apparently a shortage of OTs in the area.
      Miah - married to Warcabbage, 3 boys, BS in social work, AS in Electrical Engineering Technology

      Evulcarrot - 18, freshman in college, Medical Technology , mild autism
      Battlebroccoli - 17, lives with grandma, attends a special high school program part time
      Doomsprout - 10, highly verbal moderate autism, anxiety, motor delays, sensory processing issues - SC 4 with R&S 4

      Comment


        #4
        Have you looked at handwriting without tears? It was developed by OT's. To truly benefit you'll need more than just the workbook but once I actually got the parts, it helped so much with my dd. The speech/OT place (Kaufman children's center) we used to go to even uses it in house with their kids.

        Something I noticed with my dd is that when I backed off something academic to work on the building block needed for the skill, she did so much better than when we just kept pushing through it. For writing: core strength and hand strength.

        Maybe a fun alternate or adjunct to OT could be gymnastics. We haven't been able to get to OT in about a year due to an unrelated health problem of mine that stops me from driving but she's still made good progress in balance, core strength and fear with gymnastics. Maybe even hand strength since she has to grip the bar. I make sure to handpick the coach and time slot & brief them on her needs. Does she progress at the same rate as the other kids? No but she has made great improvements from where she was.

        As for modifying kindergarten, I wouldn't worry about the copy work at the least. Can he trace letters? If so you could have him tracing instead of the parts where he is supposed to write the letters on his own in phonics. Or he could use letter tiles to let him spell out the words where they'd normally be written out. Otherwise you could view handwriting as a separate subject to work on when he has the skill. Getting all the subjects separated really helps me see them independently. It helps me not feel like I need to push to "catch up"... Well at least it helps me a little

        For math you could use number tiles so he could do the same work without needing to write the numbers by hand.

        I'm sorry you've had such a stressful week. I hope things smooth out for you!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Miah View Post
          Thank you for your reply. I think we'll go with the partial printing. Being able to choose which ones to skip should go over very well with him. Feeling in control helps him behave. We've had a bad week here. A nasty storm damaged our roof, but the insurance is going to pay for it, it's just something of a hassle. (Storms are bad, because the Sprout works himself up into such a nervous state that he often ends up vomiting. If the tornado sirens go off, it's even worse)

          Behavior wise this week we've been at very basic just safety levels such as, no spitting, no hitting, no chewing on your toenails, don't eat dirt, keep your pants on, no screeching at top volume. Basically it's been a toddler week not just in actions but in his communication. He still says plenty, but it really has little relation to anything anyone has said to him. The big kids had been at my mother's house for two weeks, and them coming home threw everything out of whack. It is getting better, and I think once school starts and he has quiet part of the day and they have a break from him part of the day that both sides will at least get back to can be communicated with levels. We are also working on getting some help from a behaviorist.

          This week is his last week with this therapist. She was only here for the summer. I hope we get a good one for the fall. There is apparently a shortage of OTs in the area.
          Hi, Miah.

          A few thoughts -

          Writing/Reading
          Your partial-printing plan sounds good. Despite the push of some in special education to immediately trade written expression for technology, the studies referenced in our handwriting threads (and beyond) indicate that paper-pen writing is important for our children's minds!

          Even partial printing will become another "gateway" to teaching reading, as in First Start Reading. I also like CelticaDea's idea of working on additional handwriting lessons apart from reading. Iris Hatfield's research supports benefits of early handwriting with easy strokes, as with New American Cursive. Andrew Pudewa praised Iris in his well-researched "Power of the Pen" lecture at the MP Conference last week.

          [A side note - I wish everyone reading here could have attended last week. A truly outstanding conference. Tanya and the MP staff are to be commended highly!]


          Anxiety/Behavior
          While you wait for an OT or behaviorist:

          Anxiety (so severe as to induce vomiting during thunderstorms)
          -You might want to consider the cognitive approach in a book possibly available through your library or inter-library loan, Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents. As you remember from Simply Classical, we want to cultivate self-knowledge within his classical education.

          Many of the cognitive techniques in the above book, such as "The Worry Scale," intend to help even young children see the link between their thinking and their feelings. An example, "Linking Situations, Thoughts, and Feelings," includes thought bubbles, "What Happened?," "What Was I Thinking?" "What Was I Feeling?" As the book's title indicates, the authors lead parent and child through a step-by-step process, so the child gains control over his thoughts and emotions, rather than feeling controlled by them. You mentioned his desire to control, so coaching alongside him in this manner might be helpful.

          Behavior
          -Be sure to address behaviors in ways that train self-control, so he not only avoids bad behaviors but also practices good, thoughtful behaviors. This may seem advanced, especially while you're in survival mode, but even a little bit of a daily shift might help.

          You might incorporate this into his faith life, such as with brief, daily catechism instruction. I recall from an earlier post that he was receiving instruction in the Episcopal church. The Q&A includes this, "What does this mean about human life?” “It means that all people are worthy of respect and honor." Such instructions, found in any catechism, can become part of the morning overview. The daily reminder might help replace "no x, no y, no z" with more inspiring or respectful behaviors, such as "keep the other person safe from harm," "protect your brother's property," "honor and serve."

          Of course, your son still needs clear, immediate consequences for the egregious wrongdoing to others (spitting, hitting), but daily instruction in a higher model of conduct might help. Social stories described in Simply Classical might help here too, especially for ingesting non-food items.


          Like CelticaDea, I do hope things settle down for you soon. We always found the transition from summer to fall a bit bumpy, but then we appreciated the return to a clear routine. September is always one of my favorite months.


          If you think your son's behaviors cannot be explained by mere changes in routine, you might consider speaking with his pediatrician or requesting a referral for a specialized medical evaluation. You may need a full team to help evaluate and address his difficulties. After all, we want our youngest children to do these few simple things we discussed in one of our special-needs sessions last week, from an old-fashioned schoolbook my daughter gave me:


          to read well, write well, think well; to be kind to others; and to love beautiful things


          Continued blessings to you. As you assemble a team of help for your son - whether OT's, gymnastics teachers, physicians, or behaviorists - keep equipping yourself. Your own relationship with your son is the most important one.

          Cheryl


          Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

          Comment

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