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Considering Level A

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    Considering Level A

    Hello.

    I have a 7 yr old son who has several special needs issues. His main one is that he is severely autistic, nonverbal, and significantly developmentally delayed. His cognitive age just recently was rated at 2 years. He seems to understand much more, but is unable to function at a higher level at this time.

    In reading the skills taught in both Level A and Level B, I noticed just how much involves the ability to speak as well as fine motor skills. One of his secondary issues is that he has no fine motor skills due to Hypotonia. This is in part why I am leaning towards Level A. What concerns me however is wondering if the curriculum is going to be compatible to his ability level. He is learning to use PECS cards to communicate and does approximated sign language for a few words.

    I would love to know from others familiar with the program, do they find it to be easy to adapt to their child's specific needs and developmental skill levels?

    Thank you for reading,

    Paula

    #2
    Originally posted by Autism_Blessings View Post
    Hello.

    I have a 7 yr old son who has several special needs issues. His main one is that he is severely autistic, nonverbal, and significantly developmentally delayed. His cognitive age just recently was rated at 2 years. He seems to understand much more, but is unable to function at a higher level at this time.

    In reading the skills taught in both Level A and Level B, I noticed just how much involves the ability to speak as well as fine motor skills. One of his secondary issues is that he has no fine motor skills due to Hypotonia. This is in part why I am leaning towards Level A. What concerns me however is wondering if the curriculum is going to be compatible to his ability level. He is learning to use PECS cards to communicate and does approximated sign language for a few words.

    I would love to know from others familiar with the program, do they find it to be easy to adapt to their child's specific needs and developmental skill levels?

    Thank you for reading,

    Paula

    Welcome, Paula.

    Level A can help you address the global delays in a specific, structured way. If you found that his ability level in one area (e.g., receptive vocabulary) exceeded his ability in other areas (e.g., fine-motor skills and expressive language), you could expand the lesson plans by elevating your own vocabulary during each lesson and coordinating with his known PECS cards, signing, and other unspoken responses for his own portions.

    As you know, any curriculum is only as useful as its teacher. Exploring stories with wonder and enjoyment, even amidst the very serious skills taught throughout the program, will assist the curriculum's adaptability and the child's progress! We linked the Level A daily lessons to a collection of delightful read-alouds just for this purpose.

    We also intend for the child to receive his needed specific therapies (e.g., speech, language, OT, PT) alongside this pre-academic curriculum.


    If it helps, here is an abbreviated sample of skills addressed through "The Best Mouse Cookie," Numeroff & Bond, Week 2. I adapted the sample to replace intended speaking with listening. Some moms use this seemingly simple technique with success: Omit the final word of an often-repeated verse or phrase to elicit speech approximations.


    Week 2: The Best Mouse Cookie
    Prayer - listening along to a spoken prayer that includes "small things that have no words"

    Calendar - day of the week, weather (if his receptive vocabulary exceeds "Sunny," you can elaborate here with words such as "partly cloudy, windy, stormy")

    Recitation - listening to a repeated verse (easily expanded by speaking the remainder of the psalm each day)

    Alphabet Lesson - listening to a reciting of the entire alphabet, focusing on "M" for Mouse (you could expand to "C" for Cookie, etc.)

    Number Lesson - counting to three - counting cookies, boys, eggs (he can listen or use a sign/card for 1, 2, 3)

    Literature/Poetry Lesson - kitchen vocabulary (toaster, oven, pitcher, oven mitts, cookie sheets - you can shorten or lengthen this list)

    Oral Language - emotions/empathy/social language taught through the boy, Mouse all week

    Fine-Motor/Pre-Writing - this week includes pre-writing activities such as playdough rolling & patting "cookies," using plastic rolling pins, adding small chocolate chips for cookie dots (to develop pincer grasp). [All of the OT-type activities in this Level A category assisted my own son with hypotonia.]

    Gross-Motor/Coordination - motor planning, bilateral coordination: holding mixing bowl with one hand & wooden spoon with the other. [My daughter with global coordination delays worked on bilateral coordination by making instant pudding in just this way.]

    Enrichment/Therapies - pretend play & proprioceptive play with kitchen items, such as carrying 4-lb bags of flour to the table to pretend cookie prep; inhibitory movement & other sensory experiences related to The Best Mouse Cookie. You can expand all of these through your own conversational enrichment of vocabulary used during these activities (e.g., speaking in full sentences, avoiding "baby talk," using more advanced vocabulary to describe muscle movements).

    Finally - the planner includes space to write your son's own therapy homework & exercises. You can see the layout here. If he is not yet receiving OT for his low tone & delayed fine-motor skills, you might consider this little guide to maximize the benefits available through an OT evaluation and subsequent therapies. If you wanted more fine-motor attention during Level A, you might add My Very First Scissors Book (Book One). Although listed in Level B, this can become a stand-alone book for anyone who needs help with early fine-motor skills.



    More Discussion
    If you have time, you might also appreciate these previous threads:

    1. Any-Augmented-Communication-Users?

    2. Reviews of Simply Classical Curriculum - see especially Level A

    3. Lost/Surprised by Evaluation Results

    4. Homeschooling a Multiply Handicapped Child

    5. ... and other topics on this forum - just to remind you that you others here understand, even if they are sometimes busy teaching, rather than posting. You are most certainly not alone!


    If you wanted an inexpensive trial, consider purchasing only the Level A Curriculum Guide with (or without) the children's prayer book. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the guide as an individual item for purchase. Simply visit the library to pair the guide with its accompanying read-alouds. You might try this for Weeks 1-5. See what you think. If you needed suggestions on elevating or adapting any of the areas as you teach, you could ask here.


    I hope some of this helps your decision. Others may add more specific adaptations for you.


    Thanks-
    Cheryl

    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
    Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith

    Simply Classical Curriculum - more levels to come!

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Paula

      I have three children: two on the spectrum; one as-of-yet unknown. Level C is where we are with my oldest, 7. He did not speak until he was 5. And it has been a long road to even *think* we would find a way to homeschool. This year with Memoria's Simply Classical curriculum has been incredible -- truly. We do Level C every school day, but I also purchased Level A for my younger children, to begin acclimating them to school and to remediate my oldest who still has some pretty hefty comprehensional issues.

      I HEARTILY RECOMMEND Level A for your son for many reasons. Here are just a few:

      1) Interaction -- biulding joint attention, as you know, is INCREDIBLY important for kids on the spectrum. Level A gently begins this process while still giving you plenty of free time for the "rest of your day". If your son cannot tolerate joint attention for more than a few minutes at a time, Level A is easily broken down into "bites" for use througout your day (instead of trying to do things all at once over an hour).
      2) Routine -- the Lesson Plans for all the SC curriculum follow a pretty regular scheme. It took us a week or two to get into the rhythm. Now my son knows it so well, he can tell me what subject comes next! This is another "good" for kids on the spectrum.
      3) Developing gross and fine motor skills -- there is quite a bit of "motor work" going on in Level A, even though the students are not writing. We have learned to make sandwiches, cut up fruit (with plastic knives), manipulate Play-doh, use safety scissors, jump, hop, run, skip, kick balls, play catch, take walks over diverse terrain -- there is SO MUCH gross/fine motor built in to every Lesson Plan, don't worry! He might not be asked to write, but he will be gently led to develop good motor skills as he is able. Meet him at his level, and go from there. My son HATED writing and using scissors and coloring before we began SC. Now he is much more enthusiastic, proficient and careful, and doesn't howl at me when we start crafts -- AMAZING.
      4) Language, language, language -- Level A includes beautifully illustrated, classic books at his level, daily prayers, singing of the ABC song, short Scripture memory, and building concepts like counting, colors and shapes. He will learn one-to-one correspondence (SUCH a hard concept for my son at first) in a gentle way. The curriculum is language-rich -- SUCH A HUGE NECESSITY FOR NON-VERBAL KIDS. Even if it seems like it's not "getting in" -- it is!!! Each book is repeated on four consecutive days -- sometimes eight (the school week is four days amd some books, like Dr Seuss' ABC's -- are done for two weeks). So he will be exposed to each book multiple times; repetition, repetition, repetition -- this is key for my kids to be able to engage the text, and likely will be a help for your son as well.

      Wish I could expand on this (I'm sure someone with more time and better knowledge of the material will be along soon to augment what I've shared). But in short -- YES! Highly recommend Level A.
      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
      ~Pope St John Paul II

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for the responses. My son goes for OT, PT, and Speech therapies. I printed out a copy of the "skills developed" pages for Level A to show to the OT and she is happy with it. She says the skills are in line with the therapy goals that are set.

        Paula

        Comment

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