Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lots of Stuff....

Flexi-School Update's been a while since I wrote an update.  In the main flexi-schooling my daughter is going extremely well.  She has definitely become more her happy, confident self again, and is learning tons! She told me how happy she was that she could actually read her 'quiet reading' book in School which was 'Charlotte's Web'.  I asked her, 'what did you do when you couldn't read so well, or do the work set?' and she replied, 'I would just sit there staring at the page and not do anything, then I would get in trouble.'  Oh the joys of School for a dyslexic child! 

However....some days have been flippin tough - normally when I have had a row with the other half, or something 'big' is distracting me.....  I find that my husband & daughter's behavioural characteristics are sooo similar that I can transfer my frustrations about him onto her very easily and this does NOT lead to a productive morning's learning!  I have also felt quite poorly with a cold/aches in the past few weeks and instead of just taking things a bit easy, tried to stick with the regime & then failed to remain patient!  For some bizarre reason, one morning I chose to do fractions, on a day when my head was pounding & I felt dreadful...It was all going okay, we worked on the concept of dividing by the denominator & multiplying by the numerator and she seemed to grasp it....then at the end of the hour or so, I asked her a question and it was like we had never done a fraction!  I lost it! Then apologised and said it was my fault - that I clearly hadn't taught it in the right way (despite cutting up oranges, using numicon and every other strategy I could think of!)...well what could I say?  "Where the hell has all that information we have just spent an hour working on gone? Why are you so stupid?  Come on - think! You must know this by now!"  All this she has heard many I had to dig deep and blame myself...but it is very hard sometimes!

Then the other day, I looked back in her work folder and was absolutely amazed at the progress of her writing in 4 weeks.  It has gone from a messy, misspelled 4 year old to a mature, much more accurate, neat 7 year old and I nearly cried!


A rather disturbing experience occurred a week ago during tutoring.  I have a boy come to me who is a joy to work with and be around; he is happy, kind, thoughtful and funny; however, when he came to my Office for his session, I would not have recognised him.  In fact, if I had not known him so well, I would have thought he was at best ADHD, at worst mentally unstable.  He would not look at me, swung round and round on his chair, hit himself on the head and would not talk or do anything I suggested. 

It was clear that I was not going to get him to do Toe by Toe - in fact, it seemed that the poor little red book was his personification of all his problems.  I recognised he was angry, but he would not lower his guard.  Nothing worked, until I asked him what he enjoyed doing, "Drawing," came the answer, so he drew.... pictures of teachers telling him off, of him crying, of him being last we talked about things and he became the boy I recognised again. many other boys and girls are displaying behaviour like this in Schools all around the Country?  How many seem like they have psychological or behavioural problems when really they are just sick of being different, sick of having to work 3-5 times harder than everyone else, sick of being told off/to concentrate/that they should know this by now when they are trying so hard.  No wonder they are a bit angry!  As adults we would never put up with this treatment, and sometimes I truly think our education system is tantamount to mentally abusing these children by teaching in a way they just CANNOT learn.  Controversial I know.....Comments?!

Some Advice from my Experiences

If you think your child may be dyslexic, s/he probably is, but here is a check-list from my experiences:

1) If your child cannot remember letter symbols in a natural progressive way, they could be dyslexic.  Dyslexia merely means that a person cannot read/write/spell as well as their intelligence would suggest. (please note - parents are very competitive when it comes to reading & how well their child is doing.  They will try to make you believe your child is just a bit slow or thick - but go with your gut - your instinct will usually be right).

2)  Ask your child if the words move around on the page, or if they 'jump' around.  Try turning the lights down & see if reading improves in dim light (you can time reading to check).  If you are at all worried, book a colorimetry test at an optometrist.  My daughter has scotopic light sensitivity, which can affect people with dyslexia, she couldn't read ANYTHING until getting tinted glasses, now she relies on them completely - they are a miracle!

3)  Insist on a LASS test at School, BUT do not let them fob you off that the results show no problem.  My daughter's results said she was 'borderline,' but on further investigation, we realised the results had not been properly analysed.

4)  Get Toe by Toe - by Keda Cowling.  20 mins a day can change your child's life.  Also, if you can,  get a private tutor who has some knowledge about the issue to keep you both going - it's a tough road!  However, if you are one of those lucky individuals (whom I have yet to meet) who has School support, this should not be necessary.

5) Remember - don't get too bogged down in it all (I have at times), your child is the same wonderful, unique and truly amazing individual they were before they started learning and the dyslexia became apparant.  If our education system was different, their difficulties would not be an issue.  Celebrate their strengths as much as possible - with support and understanding these 3-dimensional, out of the box thinkers can be something truly special!

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