Our son did his first drawing of people!

by admin on March 21, 2010

And here it is.

"People fighting from 'Wimpy Kid'"

"People fighting from 'Wimpy Kid'"

This is big. He’s 7, and his challenges have prevented him from drawing much more than scribbles until now. Apparently, he was inspired after we went to see “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” on the big screen. Very excited about this development!  Texted the pic to dad right away. :-)

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Developmental delay and learning to read

by admin on March 20, 2010

Happy news: At 7 my son is starting to make real progress with reading. He has cognitive and mild physical delays stemming from hypotonia and global apraxia. At times we all got pretty frustrated on the journey to reading, but now here we are! I wanted to share a few things that worked for us and would love to hear what you’ve been doing with your kids.

Hang letters and words around the house.

Hang letters and words around the house.

Letter recognition
The key for us turned out to be writing letters on paper and taping them around the house. He would get upset when quizzed on the letters, so instead I just told him what they were. We would greet the letters with “Hi Mr. N!” or whatever. This way there was no pressure and he was able to name the letters on his own before too long. Then we added sounds.

My son didn’t say any words until after turning 3, so we didn’t have some of the usual aids like reciting the alphabet together. He also has been DXd with convergence insufficiency, meaning his eyes don’t come together well to focus up close. Trying to ID letters in print was tough – I’d tell him the letter, he’d repeat it, and then a few seconds later he’d be unable to ID it again. Hanging larger versions around the house seemed to help, and he eventually was able to ID them in print on his own.

Sight words

We did the same thing with hanging these around the house. At first I would simply tell him the words, and he would repeat them. At times he was angry and resistant, not wanting to work. So I told him he could go up and slap the word or hit it with a flyswatter while we went over it. This way he channeled his mad energy into an activity that was still productive. Once he started to really know the words, it became fun to take a tour around the house and greet each word. It’s a good idea to vary location of the words to make sure kids aren’t just memorizing by location.

Bead box from Michaels works great for letters too.

Bead box from Michaels works great for letters too.

Magnetic letter board
For a tactile element to learning words, we used magnetic letters on a lap-sized board. Over time we’d collected a large number of magnetic letters that were all piled together, making it hard to select the right ones for words. I went to Michaels and picked up a couple of compartmentalized plastic containers meant for sorting beads. Turns out they work great for letters too.

At first I’d let my son do whatever he wanted with letters on the board, so he wouldn’t resist. He liked building “robots” with them. We worked up to arranging letters into sight words. He still has trouble sequencing letters. For now the board is more about reinforcing sight words in a hands on way than teaching him to spell.

organgebooks

See? Orange.

The “orange books”
These are the Harcourt “pre-decodable” and “decodable” books that our school system uses for teaching kindergarteners to read. The summer after kindergarten, we went over two orange books every morning before I went to work. He hated this and fought me, but we had a rule that if we didn’t do the books, he would get no TV or computer for that day. I also sent him to time out inthe mornings (using the “1, 2, 3 Magic” method) if he refused to do the books.

This sounds punitive but ended up working well. He’s repeating kindergarten this year and again seeing the orange books, but now has confidence and even gets excited to do them. (”Can we read orange books tonight?” is music to my ears.)

With the above methods we’ve gotten to where he can read very simple early-reading books pretty fluently, though he does need a finger to help him track.

What’s been your experience with teaching reading to kids with cognitive deficits? Anyone have a success story to share?

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Best Twitter app for iPhone: Tweetie2, HootSuite or Tweetdeck

February 3, 2010

There are of course many other apps for using Twitter on your iPhone, but these are the three I’ve tested lately. Here’s my summary of what I like about each. (Caveat: I’m probably missing some things, or maybe just wrong. Please point out any oversights and add your own pros and cons.)
You can assume [...]

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Shameless promotion of the Christ Church band (Ft Thomas)

February 3, 2010

I’m not a big Christian music person. More into alt-something. (Rest in peace, Vic Chestnutt.) But I’ve got to say the new praise band at Christ Church UCC has amazed me. We have contemporary service at 10:45 a.m. every Sunday. If you like music, I hope you’ll consider checking us out. Leave a comment here [...]

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64-bit iTunes download for Windows 7

December 19, 2009

I had a terrible time trying to put the new HootSuite application on my iphone. The problem involved difficulties installing the proper version of iTunes on my Windows 7 computer, so that I could use iTunes to upgrade the software on my iPhone to 3.1, so that I could run the HootSuite app. Whew. That [...]

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Deals on Christmas decorations at Santa In the City

December 13, 2009

You’re probably wondering, “What’s that?” I did too.
Santa in the City is located on the fourth floor of a warehouse in Bellevue, Ky.. The companies behind it are  Hosea Project Movers and Lasting Impressions Design & Staging. They’ve decked out the cavernous space with trees, wreaths, ornaments and all manner of Christmas knick-knacks, plus some [...]

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Best apple variety for snacking: Honey Crisp

November 22, 2009

I was standing in the grocery back in October, befuddled as usual by all the choices of apples. Really, why do we need so many?  Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady…I have no clue. (Other than knowing that Red Delicious are too often mealy and bitter, the result of – I read  this somewhere – overbreeding for [...]

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Cooking disasters: Rosemary potato galette

November 14, 2009

What happened here, I wonder? This dish tasted great, but the layers of potatoes didn’t hold together after cooking, as you can see. What is supposed to make them stick to each other? I wonder if this was missing an egg or something.
Here is the recipe, from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & [...]

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Kids who will not stop chewing their shirts

November 14, 2009

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You put a shirt on your child, and within an hour the front is completely soaked. Or there are holes around the collar. Or the sleeves are a soggy mess. Yep, you’ve got a chewer.
The good news is that it doesn’t last forever. And during the chewing phase, you [...]

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