As The World Turns

The sun has this very annoying habit of coming up in the morning whether you want it to or not. So I am up, ready to face the day (thanks to all your amazing comments), and ready to meet with the tutor today to discuss her findings. We got a nice fat report from all the tests she gave, and now she can describe them to me in "mom language." How it breaks down is our babe can actually read (a great miracle) but when it comes to thinking of a word and getting it down on paper, it becomes very, very difficult. There is a breakdown in phonological processing, so child cannot remember how to spell words. There is no recall of vowel combinations, like ai, oa, ea, ie, etc. and child has no clue how to use them when writing words. And as all their mental energy goes into coping through the discrepancies, child is exhausted and down on themselves. We are also waiting for an appointment to see an Occupational Therapist, as our babe's writing samples reveal great difficulty with letter formation, spacing, spelling, and close-point copying--which is highly suggestive of dysgraphia (writing learning disability).

Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it.

What does it mean? School looks a whole lot different from here on out. It makes me really wish we were pioneers and lived in the woods where writing and spelling grades just don't matter. However, our child will need to have major accommodations at school--like personalized spelling tests and less time writing. If they do a writing assignment, they should be graded on content and not spelling or sentence structure. And that is why we are meeting with the principal and upcoming class teacher tomorrow. Our school is incredibly friendly and will be 100% behind us, but it might also mean reams and reams of paperwork and additional testing so that our child can qualify for special services with the district. My biggest concern is that by qualifying for special education, other kids will tease and ridicule. Kids are mean, unfortunately. I also hate the "after school banter" between moms about "How is your child doing?" or "What grades did your child get?" I will have to reign myself in from kicking shins.

Whether you homeschool, attend private school, or public school, we live in a society that measures success. We measure our children's worth by how well they complete certain tasks. I am guilty too. I feel just as much pride over "top marks" from school as the next mom. But I'm beginning to change my tune on that. Isn't my childrens' character so much more important than any grade or any gifted and talented program? One of my favorite quotes that I have begun telling our kids regularly is, "It's not your abilities that define who you are. It's your choices."
In other stuff, Zinabu always seems to know when I need a good laugh. He was watching the Olympics with me and saw the rings and said, "Mom, those look like meatballs!"
Everything reminds him of food!


Mrs. Baker said...

I posted a link to your blog and a pic of Z. I just wanted to make sure this is ok.

Mark and Sarah said...

You definitely are a super mom--the depth of effort and seriousness you put into identifying your child's needs is incredible. You may think "any mom" would do that, but honestly, I don't think they would...which is why so many of our kiddos fall through the cracks. Now that you know the issue, you will most certainly tackle it head-on and your child will be so much better for it--more confidence, more understanding, etc. And I love your quote...it's definitely their choices, not their abilities!! GO mama!

Spark said...

Cathy, when my son was dx'd with his learning disability, one of the accomodations he used was a laptop computer (provided by the school) with a program that after typing a few letters of a word, would bring up a word list (that could be customized for him, with words added) that he could choose from. It seriously eliminated the spelling and struggles with the writing process, and enabled him to get his wonderful ideas to paper. Otherwise, he would write the shortest things possible with the shortest words he could think of. It was a Godsend. However, I had to keep fighting the school for continued use of it (due to the $$ involved, even though they introduced it to us). Homework time at home was greatly reduced from being hours and hours every night.

Also, his teachers would provide him with copies of class notes, as this was another great difficulty for him. So he would do what he could during class, but could relax knowing that he would get the accurate information. So it became more of WHAT he knew, not HOW he got it down on paper.

Good luck working with the schools - it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.