Friday, November 21, 2008


where to start?

OK, the [insert pic of me banging my head against the wall] part first. Last nite was rough. Salamander had a really tough time. Not entirely surprising, as he has been working SO incredibly hard all week. And Thursday evenings are typically a bit more rough, as the boys are tired from working hard all week, but they can't 'let go and slow down' just yet as there is still Friday to get through. This is exactly the reason why I typically make Thursday evenings "movie nite", where the boys can just chill and watch a movie while they are eating their dinner (that doesn't happen on other week nites.. so this is a treat). Especially Salamander just doesn't have a whole lot of energy left on Thursday evenings to actually verbally communicate, so I am perfectly cool with a little 'switch off and recharge' time.

What happened last nite? Not sure. Well, I have my suspicions. Salamander was tethering on the edge of an escalation, and a certain someone, through his actions and then lack of actions, added 'oil to the fire'. BOOM.. Flash Burn... Incredible, that after so many years of seeing how I respond to Salamander when he's 'on edge', and the actions I take to talk him 'off the ledge', that none of this has registered or rubbed off on that certain someone...
Ah well, Salamander stabilized as soon as I got him settled in front of the TV for a movie and got some food into him. And by bedtime he was doing better.

[I did some processing of the whole 'what the F just happened' later that nite and again this morning. Mistake I made is that I went to my 'reactive' place, not reactive to Salamander, mind. Reactive to the (non)actions of that certain someone. And I should have stayed 'neutral'...
More here]

Now the really GOOD stuff. Salamander completed his 5th 2 hour block at Lindamood Bell this morning (we'll be back there next week Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) and he is doing really really well. He has been progressing faster this week than the staff had anticipated based on his original assessments (and yes, I realize it's only the first week...], and he was more solid in some skill areas than expected. Which is GOOD news. As that means that most likely all skills needed to become a proficient reader ARE intact (I think I can now officially retire my 'does he have dyslexia on top of everything else' concerns). What needs work is mastery, consistency and automaticity.

I have also seen some truly amazing changes in his ability to retain information in his short term memory (which is very weak). At the start of the week, he could not hold the printed image of a 3 to 5 letter word in his mind for more than a couple of seconds. This morning I watched him 'hold on' to the image of a 5 letter word for quite a long time, all the while responding to instructions to delete/add/move around letters and letter groups. So his endurance is improving.

Also I have seen his fear of failing diminish. Of course he is getting a ton of one-on-one attention and a ton of positive re-enforcement while he's at the center. And I am seeing his confidence and his 'oh wow. I CAN do this stuff' grow in leaps and pounds. He's much more willing to try to figure things out and to stick with it for a while, even if in the end he cannot yet figure it out. He is positively GLOWING while he's there. And I cannot even begin to articulate how much of a trip it's been for me to see my 'oh my god. I hope I know how to do this. What if I don't know how to do this. What if I make a mistake' kiddo start to change into a 'OK. I know how to do this. First I try this, and then I try that. And I can take my time and I'll get there' kiddo.
The staff is getting a real kick out of how he's 'blooming' too...

At home, he is definitely more willing to try and read independently and to not give up at the first 'difficult' word. And while I do not mind reading to him (not at all; I LOVE reading with him), he IS in 5th grade, so he should be able to read by himself for about 10 - 15 minutes without help. I have more confidence now that we will get to that point.

In all, this has been quite a week. And I can't wait to see what next week is going to bring (I DO need to make sure I spent solid time with Potatey this weekend; he feels a little left out, and has been acting (out?) accordingly the past 2 days ..).


At 2:21 PM, November 21, 2008 , Blogger K Fuller said...

It is amazing what progress kids can make when they are *engaged* in the work. I really wish sometimes that teachers could be trained by the ones that can get success from our kids! Don't you just get sick of educators who just want to teach like they have always done it? That's why they call it an *IEP* Individualize:
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. To modify to suit the wishes or needs of a particular individual.

Good for you for finding a program to maximize your sons learning.

At 2:34 PM, November 21, 2008 , Blogger Petra said...

Well sh#t, were you a fly on the wall this morning in a converstation I had with several of the therapists that have been working so far with Salamander??

AMEN. Yes indeed. What is it about not getting that "individualized' bit in the "individualized education plan". Hello??

Best thing I heard this morning? "Salamander is so bright and has such incredibly deep interests and the matching knowledge base, there is no reason why we should be satisfied with getting his reading to grade level. But that is obviously our first goal. But after reaching that goal, we are going to work with him on 6th, 7th, maybe higher grade level texts. We know he has the comprehension, we know he has the intellectual capacity, so we're going to get his reading to a point that it matches his potential."

I friggin' almost fainted (yeah, I heard that "Hallelujah" thing in the background).

I do understand where schools are coming from. I do, I do. I also want to firmly acknowledge all the work they have done so far and that they were instrumental in getting Salamander where he is today.
But why schools are 'happy' to get these high functioning, obviously very bright kids to 'low average' and then walk away.. I'll just never understand that..

[and I surely won't accept it..]


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home