Posts Tagged by Pre-literacy Skills
|October 18, 2012||Posted by Laura under E, Learning to Read, Special Education|
Over the summer, E had a two-week break in speech therapy when we traveled to Boston for the CASANA Conference. When we started up again, one of her speech therapists was still on vacation so it was an entire month before we got back onto our regular schedule. I thought the break would help E, that she would be refreshed. Instead, it was like she’d had a taste of freedom. She didn’t want to do speech therapy.
She’s verbal now and she was able to tell us that she didn’t want to go and that she wished she was like S and didn’t have to do speech all the time.
What I really wanted to tell her was, “I know honey. I don’t want you to have to go to speech anymore either.”
Instead I told her I was sorry and that she still had to go to speech. I understood that she was frustrated and tired but she’s made so much progress and will continue to make more progress. One day she won’t have to go to speech anymore.
When will that day be? Five years, ten years? To me it seems like a lifetime. To her it seems like eternity.
Her speech therapists were wonderful and switched things up a bit. They tried to give her more choices in therapy, tried to make things more fun. We pushed through the hump and are now on the other side for her. At least at the moment, she’s no longer complaining about speech therapy.
I, on the other hand, am starting to feel the effects of burnout. E attends preschool five days a week, a distance from our house, but the right school to meet her needs. She has speech therapy four times a week, twice in our home, once at preschool, and once nearly an hour away in one direction. She has OT twice a week and plays on a soccer time that practices twice a week. We’ve also recently added in a once a week session with a children’s counselor to work on her anxiety. I have two other kids and I work part-time. Most of E’s therapy is on the days I don’t work so my days off are spent driving, driving, and driving, or sitting in my car waiting, waiting, and waiting.
I’ve been doing this, we’ve been doing this, for nearly four years. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m burned out.
I know that next year will be easier in some ways. Once she starts kindergarten, most, but not all, of her therapy will be during the school day. I will have less driving and waiting to do.
But I also know that next year begins learning to read – a potential problem that I am acutely aware of because of my job and my educational background. What we give up in speech therapy next year may be replaced with tutoring or educational therapy. The public school system is not set up to proactively address potential learning difficulties. Instead it addresses kids who are already failing.
One of the things I have learned from our experience is to be proactive with E. We are proactive with addressing her anxiety difficulties now rather than waiting for them to worsen. I am working with her at home on pre-reading skills in addition to her regular preschool curriculum. I notice the other day that she doesn’t know that Flag Salute. I downloaded it from iTunes so that we can listen to it over and over again in the car. She will need to be able to make a reasonable attempt at it next year in Kindergarten.
Being proactive is exhausting. I’m burned out but I don’t have a choice. I’ve got to push through the hump and hope I’ve still got enough energy when we get to the other side.
|February 18, 2012||Posted by Laura under E, Early Intervention, Learning to Read|
I’ve spent the last two days working with E on recognizing non-speech sounds. I’m starting with animals because they are high interest and she is very successful at recognizing a cat’s meow and a dog’s bark. First, I let her practice with Sound Touch and we played the cow’s moo and looked at the pictures of the cows. This is using multisensory learning – vision and hearing. After she played with the app for a while I hid the screen and started making her guess. I started with the dog and cat and eventually sandwiched the cow in between the two or at the end. I’d say she’s getting it right about 80% of the time so we still have some room to grow.
E was not particularly cooperative the first day. When something is difficult for her, like most people, she doesn’t want to do it. We have a sticker chart which is usually pretty motivating but she wasn’t having it yesterday. I bought some mini Oreo cookies which is a big treat for the kids because I never buy them. I had to use these as a motivator. It definitely worked. I hate using food as a motivator, especially unhealthy food so I’ve got to try something else.
E’s OT has suggested having her eat small cut-up pieces of licorice to help with her tactile issues with food. I don’t know if E would even like licorice but I may try this because I can cut them into very small pieces and make them last a long time. I don’t need another morning with her eating 30 tiny Oreo cookies before 9:00 am!
E continued to play with the app on the iPad in the car on the way to pre-school yesteday. She found a zebra (which by the way makes the oddest sound) and I told her that was a zebra. Her response was, “Zebra is like Z (a boy in her class whose name start’s with Z)”.
This is what I was writing about in my previous post where I stated that kids with CAS may have a hodgepodge off skills. E can identify the sound Z makes and recognize it in two words, yet she can’t recognize the noise made by jangling keys. This is why if you are helping your child to develop a more firm foundation in phonemic awareness you need to start at the beginning no matter where the child actually is in school. This way you can identify his or her weaknesses and firm them up.
For anyone reading this whose child can already identify non-speech sounds in isolation, your next step will be to have your child practice identifying them in random sequences, ie., keys, barking, piano. Reading is essentially identifying speech-sounds in random sequences (at least to a beginning reader), so practice this skill at the non-speech sound level.