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Placement for nonverbal child

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    Placement for nonverbal child

    Hello,

    I am looking at Simply Classical for my 5 yo son with Down syndrome. Placement is a bit difficult because many of the questions on the placement tests do not really apply to him. He is mostly nonverbal but has about 50 signs. His receptive language is fairly good, though, and he can follow one-step directions. He also has a feeding tube and does not eat orally at all, so he is not very familiar with food.

    He loves books and simple puzzles. He knows his colors and many animal sounds. He is very social and enjoys being around people.

    He has had 2 years of public preschool. He is a bit delayed in the large motor functions and needs quite a bit of fine motor help. He receives speech, PT and OT services.

    Advice?

    Thank you!
    DS13: Mix of MP 7/8
    DS11: MP 5M
    DD9: MP 2/3 mix
    DS6: Public school 1/2 day kindergarten, plus outside OT, PT and speech

    #2
    Re: Placement for nonverbal child

    Welcome! Today I spent the afternoon with one of our SC families whose delightful 5yo little boy is nonverbal, was fed through a feeding tube until somewhat recently, and whose malformed hands and brain damage have resulted in weak fine-motor skills that limit his ability to sign.

    His adoptive mom, a veteran homeschooler, began by teaching through SC A for language input, motor skills, and personalized Christian studies. You could begin here too, even though your son already knows colors, shapes, and signs. She changed comprehension questions to "yes/no" responses when more words were required.

    Have you looked at the books in A? Level A can be a very nice place to start.

    If the books and lessons seem far too easy, I would begin with B. You will need to modify three areas:
    1. Recitations -- Recite the recitations yourself so he learns them by heart, have him sign along with you what he can, or do some combination of the two.
    2. R&S Workbooks -- You can omit the R&S workbooks, teach them hand-over-hand, or save them for 1-2 years later.
    3. Comprehension -- Ask yes/no questions or either/or with a visual component for pointing.

    These are easier than they sound and will become second-nature and will be useful for Level C as well.

    If he already links speech sounds to the letters than represent those sounds, and if he knows most letters by sight, you could start SC C. If you're not sure, get lowercase letter tiles. Place a "c" and an "f" in front of him. Say, "show me "f." To test sounds, "show me the letter that stands for /f/."

    Either way, a magnetic slant board with letters will become your best friend when teaching him phonemic awareness. Most programs for non-verbal and/or Down syndrome focus almost exclusively on sight words, whole language, and an approach that looks similar to a guessing game or word-matching exercise, but we encourage teaching the phonemes alongside sight words.

    Whether you teach A or B this year or jump to C, you will want solid readiness instruction in place before embarking on a full reading program, such as SC 1.

    Which level are you leaning toward?
    Last edited by cherylswope; 04-05-2018, 07:56 PM.

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      #3
      Re: Placement for nonverbal child

      This is very helpful - thank you! We’ve read all of the books in level A and B seems like it might be a good fit, with some modifications. I appreciate your help!
      DS13: Mix of MP 7/8
      DS11: MP 5M
      DD9: MP 2/3 mix
      DS6: Public school 1/2 day kindergarten, plus outside OT, PT and speech

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        #4
        Re: Placement for nonverbal child

        One more thought:

        Schedule motor play for his free time when you work with your other children. In the front of your lesson plans (any level) you will receive ideas for strengthening gross- and fine-motor skills as well as cognitive abilities. For example, one of the older children can kick or roll a ball with your 5yo on his breaks, or he can play with hand-strengthening playdough, or he can play with a bin of squeeze toys. Plan this as part of his daily routine, limit screentime, and let him join in on read-alouds for your older children. All of this will triple your efforts no matter which level you choose for his individualized lessons.

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