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Archive for March, 2011

Words

I just cannot imagine life right now, if we hadn’t stumbled upon “The Gift of Dyslexia” .   Yeah I know, I go on and on about it.  And if you know me in person, well you probably have heard about it from me as well.   I am easier to quiet on my blog than in person! =P    Anyway, I wanted to start putting Martha’s words she is working on someplace.    Now, you and I take from granted that a word looks the same way every time we look at it.   Well for Martha that isn’t the case.   Think about each time you look at a word, each letter can be in a different configuration.     In order to help sort out that confusion, Martha gets to play with clay!  (it is quite fun!)    She has over 200 trigger words to master as well as any other word that gives her trouble.   We have done oh about 20 I would say.  =/     So here they are:   I will define them for you, and give you the  sentence she made.

 

This is Asem.   Asem is a made up word she created.   The clay figure is what asem represents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puppy

This is of course the word Puppy.   She is beginning to understand the relationship between the clay figure and the word.   Easier to start with words she understands as well as learning how to work with the clay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tall

Tall:  This is just another word for her to work through forming the relationship between the picture and the word.  The mountain is tall.

Put

Put:   To cause to be in a certain place or position.

 

She put the ball on the table.

 

This was one of our first trigger words we worked on!  The arrows denote action.   You might not be able to see due to my not so great camera phone photography, but there is a person picking up a ball, then moving with the ball and then she PUT the ball on the table.

 

On

 

 

on:  held up by or attached to

The  plates and bowls are on the table.   (The plates and bowls are HELD UP by the table.)

 

 

 

 

 

Between

This was a tough one.  7 letters folks!

Between: in the place that separates

The ball is between my sister and me.

 

an

An: one; one kind of.

An apple tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the

 

 

 

 

The: that one which is here or which has been mentioned

 

The apple tree is gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

Well there are many more words.  But that is where I am going to stop tonight.   I will post more pictures of her words in the next coming days.

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So basically most of my days go like this;

1) Wake up, get ready for the day.

2) Make kids breakfast and lunch.

3) Take Martha to school

4) Either take Becca to school or run errands with Becca

5) Eat Lunch  and clean

6) Pick Martha up from school

7) Homework, after school activities

8) Dinner

9)Bath/Bedtime

10) Finish up chores, Get ready for bed.

 

So Becca and I spend alot of time together.  And today during our “run errand time”  I just had a smile on my face and her and I were giggling about just about everything!   And I realized how much I just love this little girl.   Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Martha as well.   And her and I stayed up and giggled in bed for a few hours before going to sleep.   It was just brilliant!   But I am thinking about going back to work.  And yes, if you know me, I think about it off and on during the year.    It is SO hard for me because I know it will be so much easier financially if I go back to work, but then I know I will miss the giggles that I got to have today.

Then if I do go back to work, what should I do.   I haven’t written code in forever.   I don’t have the experience to do program management.   Not sure I really want that either.    I need to be home in the evening because I need to be able to take Martha and Becca to there after-school activities.   I don’t want to deal with alot of stress.   I also would like to get enough pay to pay for there schooling.     /sigh.

This is really tearing me up.  And I know other Mom’s struggle with this as well.

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So I left off yesterday by mentioning Lisa Spratt.   She runs the NorthEast Alabama Dyslexia Center in Huntsville, AL.   http://www.nealdc.com/    She introduced me to a concept called the Davis Method.    Ron Davis is an autistic dyslexic and founder of the concept; he authored a book called, “A Gift of Dyslexia.”   It is brilliant.    And the more I read it, the more I found he was describing Martha.     After talking with Lisa and reading the book, we decided that this was the program for us.   (I also looked into Enlisten.   I think that program has merit, but we just felt that at the time, the Davis Method would give us the bang for the buck.   If you have a dyslexic child or family member, please look at all 3 programs and decide what is best for your situation.)

So Lisa and I decided that for Martha the Young Learner’s program would be best.   Basically, it is the same program for older students broken down into small time segments so that younger children can manage.   We started out at 3 hours a night.  And for the first few nights that was fine.   (Yes, we took breaks and we played to unwind.)   And I am going to be totally honest here, after the first class, I thought this was just mumbo jumbo.   I didn’t see how this was going to work.    I remember calling my mom and crying because I just wasted money we didn’t have.   Mom told me to give it a few more times and we can re-access.   (I don’t know where I would be without my mom.   She is one of the wisest women I know.  Her mom being on the top of that list too!)

So I did.  Martha and I and Ms. Lisa started working with clay.   It was amazing to watch Martha and her work.    Martha’s whole body manner changes when she is having to read.   Not in a bad way.  But it is her way of  what I call turning off the dyslexia.    They worked on the uppercase alphabet first.    Martha would make the letters out of plain neutral colored clay.    After she got all the letters formed.   Ms. Lisa and her used a letter chart to make sure they were in the right order as well as facing the right direction.   Martha once she “focused” was finding the misdirected letters all by herself.   I was in tears.   Martha would have never been able to do that even that morning.   This is what they call “Mastering the Alphabet”.   They played games trying to find triggers that caused letter confusion.    They worked on those letters specifically.   K and X  were one of Martha’s uppercase difficulties.     Then Ms. Lisa asked Martha to look at her alphabet and take a picture of it so that she can keep it in her mind.    Then she asked Martha to close her eyes, focus, and tell her the alphabet backwards.    We covered up the alphabet with a paper towel so Martha couldn’t peak.   Martha was very methodical and repeated each letter backwards not missing one the first time.

But the uppercase really wasn’t where Martha was having trouble at.   It was the lowercase.   Boy oh boy!   They worked on the lower case but it took us a great deal longer.   We had a few melt downs.   But we pushed on.    There were so many more trigger letters for her in the lower case.     Ms. Lisa and Martha worked and worked and worked.   But they finally got it.     After she mastered the lower case, we then started  to work on word.     Just to master the upper case and the lower case took approximately 20+ hours.

But the crazy thing is Martha started to improve in other areas without us telling her how to do things.   For example, after she mastered the lowercase letters with Ms. Lisa.   She started writing in her journal in lowercase letters.    We had been working on a piece for her violin and it just wasn’t happening.    After she was taught how to control the dyslexia (called focusing), she started reading her violin music.     Her gymnastics coach noticed how improved her balance had become.    Martha doesn’t have complete meltdowns any more when you open a book and ask her to look at it.  In fact, she is always wanting to read with me.    She is starting to write notes to people without me prompting.

Her self-confidence is back.   As a baby, it amazed me at how fearless she was, nothing could stop her.    Then that brick wall formed out of nowhere.    And it just started eating her up and destroying her.    And nothing I could do was helping her escape her prison.     I still remember me asking her to sound out a simple word and the void that overcame her.    I recognized that void as I had felt it myself growing up.    The ability to understand the task  the person is asking you to complete, but not having an inkling of an idea of how to do it.   Martha could tell me the letter sound for each of the individual letters if you asked her to look at the word and sound out the letters, it just wasn’t going to happen.    And won’t really ever happen.  It isn’t the way dyslexic process words.

A month ago, Martha came home absolutely just ecstatic!   Her teacher didn’t have to write the words under her sentence because they could understand what Martha wrote!   I honestly believe that even though Martha has awesome teachers, that this would have been something Martha wouldn’t have been able to achieve without the help of Ms. Lisa and the Davis Method.    The fog has cleared for Martha and she is soaring again.    And it just makes my heart sing.

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I don’t think I have written about Martha and what we have found out.   Well, she has dyslexia.   If you know me, or follow this sporadic blog, you know that last year I homeschooled Martha.  And that we banged our heads against the walls when it came to do anything with reading.   We got NO WHERE.   Did I say No where.   I mean  No where!   It was at best frustrating.   Most days I wondered where my little girl went.  She was so happy and bubbly and wanted to learn.  And she was good and quick at learning.   But when you asked her to look at a page of anything, it was just no possible for her to do it.   And of course, you go through the phase of:  she just isn’t focusing.  She needs to try harder.  She is just trying me to see what she can get away with.  You name it, we have gone through it.

Yes, I talked with other Mom’s and teachers and friends.   Most just discounted my concerns and said, “She will read when she is ready.”   And that was fine and hunky dory.  But there was something that continued to nag at me.    My mom and I talked and talked some more about Martha.    And Mom convinced me that she needed to go to a regular school.    So I signed her up from public school.   Before I get on my high horse about what happened at registration, lets just suffice to say, she wasn’t going to end up there.    So we started to look at private schools.    We found Country Day School.    We put her in 1st grade.  The first friday of school I was in the teacher’s office in a meeting about Martha.    She was having melt downs at school.   I still believe that part of that was Martha using her drama skills (a fine talent the girl has); but come to find out some of it was actually real.   After that meeting, I reluctantly agreed to put Martha back in Kindergarten.    You have NO idea how my stomach was knotted over this.

So off to Kindergarten we go.   Well, I was working with Martha at home.   And Mrs. McTaggart was working with Martha at school.   And I cannot speak for Mrs. McTaggart, but I wasn’t seeing any improvement at all.   Ugh.   I was getting to get pretty bothered by this.   So Mom and I put our heads together again.  We decided that even though no one else feels that she has dyslexia, I was going to pay to have her tested.   So we went down to the Greengate school and set up an test date for her.

And even though she is 6.  and even though she cannot read.    They pronounced her “probable dyslexic” that they would turn to dyslexic once she was able to read.   Well I hate to tell you, but I don’t think she was ever going to read.    Her and I worked on the same sight words for 4 months.   No progress.   Brick wall would phrase it lightly.   So I was given a list of tutors to go look into and interview and see who I liked and who had openings.   I was told that to help with dyslexia you needed Orton-Gillingham mentoring.    And what I heard about Orton-Gillingham method it sounded promising.   Again my gut said, “hmmm… keep looking”   So after a few weeks, I looked at the list again and I called one last tutor.    She was the begining to our road to success.

She and I had coffee.   She looked at what was given to me as far as test results.   She asked me about Martha.   Lots of questions.  Her and I spoke for probably 2 hours.    She suggested I talk to a lady named Lisa Spratt and that perhaps Orton-Gillingham (which works for lots of poeple) might not be the best method to help Martha and that Lisa could explain more about the Davis Method.   And so Lisa came into our lives.

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