Monday, June 30, 2008

Deaf Village...

There is a great new website called Deaf Village. It brings together folks of all 'walks of life' as it concerns the Deaf and hard of hearing. I am one of the blogger links on there so I thought I would write just a bit about ourselves and how I may end up contributing.

Our hearing history:
My son is almost eight years old. We found out he was deaf through newborn screening. The doofusses (how is that not in spell check?) did the test and said it 'might be water in the ears.' The pediatrician said "check it again in two months because he may grow into his hearing." Dorks! So on Halloween of 2000 we found out Andrew was indeed Deaf..profoundly. We immersed ourselves in activities of all kinds....we learned about oral, ASL, Deaf community, cochlear implants. (etc...) We went from Deaf events (churches, scrapbooking weekends) to cochlear implant seminars. I HIGHLY recommend EVERY parent, Deaf or hearing, to attend every sort of event they can in the first year of their child's life to determine the course that they might want their child to have. There is only ONE wrong answer...the one you let someone else make for you.

We decided to proceed with a cochlear implant at 13 months old. We chose Advanced Bionics. We started with Auditory Verbal Therapy. Again- personal choices, based on MUCH prayer, work and involvement in Andrew's first year of life. There are oodles of posts on all this stuff elsewhere on the WWW.

the "other."
As Andrew developed we knew there was 'something else.' Prior to the implant we did a CT scan so we knew Andrew had malformed semi-circular canals which would delay his physical development. But there was again...more than that. Two AVTs said there was 'something else.' One had no idea what to do and the other suggested an Occupational Therapist. But you see, the first OT we saw in the schools said 'it's just the malformation of the semi-circular canals. There is no need for other therapy." Note: Never listen to just one person...and don't be stubborn in your thinking. There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Test everything. Hold on to the good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21 In the Bible that is referring to prophesy primarily but I think it holds here too. When people ask how we have made decisions, the primary answer is prayer. We KNEW there was something else from day one. It took awhile for that knowing to take root in action when it came to the 'other' issues.

We were in a FABULOUS oral preschool. There were a few hard fought IEPs even before this class but once we got here we thought it would be great. The problem was, the teacher was an HI teacher with HI kids...and Andrew had 'other.' After many evaluations we did a MET and he was labeled as having autism. His developmental pediatrician says he is 'autisticish' in that he dances around it but never quite enters it formally. Regardless, he has sensory, attention, and social issues way beyond the scope of an HI room.

We looked around for an appropriate program for Andrew. I have always had homeschooling on my heart, even before Andrew was born. But we did want to keep our options open. As we looked toward Kindergarten our options were 1) HI room, 2) Autism room or 3) Mainstream. Andrew is "pretty smart." Let's just say that when I went in and saw there accelerated reading program I almost laughed out loud. In the autism room I saw kids lying on the kids licking toys (and escaping while I was left in the room with the other kids.) In the mainstream room they were 'included.' I witnessed the teacher say, "Go tell Billy Happy Birthday." Billy was the autistic student. Does that sound like inclusion? So...we homeschool. (Yes I know all my rights, I know I could fight for the prefect situation...but homeschool is what we feel is the best option for him right now.)

Our inclusion for homeschooling is hit and miss. Some folks bend over backwards to include. Some folks..well...not so much. Because autism manifests itself in behaviors, some folks see it as 'bad parenting.' And the cochlear implant has been incredible. Andrew reads above grade level. He can communicate in incredible ways with people one on one. I recently had my neighbor say, "you are doing great with him." This was after a conversation directly between Andrew and her. This is incredible for a kid born deaf and also with 'other.' Still Andrew's behaviors prove challenging. We went to Nana's funeral service today and Andrew didn't want to listen to the 'pretty music.' Is that the autism? the way the implant transmits music? or just plain stubbornness? No idea....

Academics is challenging in that I try and formulate our day to best fit his needs. We do the Charlotte Mason approach with an eclectic mix. I am in the process of formulating our fall curriculum but no matter what the materials, it will consist of short, high interest lessons. We will add in low interest lessons as a way of improving attention but those lessons will be VERY short. For autism we informally do RDI so I prefer to call it Mediated Learning or Guided Participation. We do not do ABA because we don't believe that has a long term lasting effect for most children with autism. There is controversy everywhere;)

So what will be my contribution on Deaf Village? Well, did you know that ONE OUT OF SIXTY Deaf kids is autistic????? That is well above the one out of one-hundred or so in the general population. And many people- deaf, autistic and combo end up homeschooling. So it is a uniquie niche that I fill. I have two other blogs. Settings of Silver focuses on our household; we do allergen free and are trying to organize our house to maximize attention and sensory input. I also have Our Art and Music Blog. I put, well, our art and music stuff on there that we do for homeschooling. Charlotte Mason is heavy on those subject areas and it is a great way to work on listening as well. I think that may be of interest to some folks here. It will probably be updated more frequently once the school year gets rolling. so....that's us....thanks for stopping by. leave a comment...or just enjoy. Oh- my OLD blog is Growing Fruit ONE. I moved here for a variety of reasons but you can check the archives for various hearing and homeschooling activities we have done!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Plans for Fall- Science a work in progress

I am in the planning process. I am just a wee bit tempted by Sonlight again as I would love to just be able to open the curriculum pages and go to work. But we did try it in the past and it didn't work out so well and I don't think we are quite ready to go that route again. (And a secret...I enjoy planning and researching what to do.) I have not been happy with what we have done in the formal science area over the past years. We have oodles of experiment books- but the choice is too big. We tried Apologia Zoology and that didn't work. I thought it was content, so I moved to Apologia Astronomy- but that didn't work. Andrew just wasn't interested in the format and you can't force information into kids. That is, of course, one of the joys of homeschooling. You don't have to cram a certain format because that is all you are allowed to do. So I prayed, and researched and prayed.

Last week I happened upon AtHomeScience blogger. I believe I found it via the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival. As I read her blog, and reviewed her LibraryThing I realized that we have done quite a bit of science as we have read many of the books she has on her LibraryThing. My first step in planning was to scoop up all my science books and put them in my own Librarything. I am still doing that but have around 50 books in there right now.

The next step was to decide what to do in the fall. Andrew has a large interest in Chemistry. Typically biology is the Elementary School subject of choice but I truly feel that I will be able to capture Andrew's attention better if I focus on chemistry- at least for fall. But it will be a bit more of a challenge since good living books are not written at that level for that topic. Below is what I am looking at using. I have requested most of them from the library so that I can take a peek at them myself and then I will probably buy 'a few.' I won't put links but you can find most of them on At Home Science's Librarything above.

Super Science concoctions: 50 Mysterious Mixtures for Fabulous Fun. by Jill Hauser (req from Library.)
How to Think LIke a Scientist (req from library.)
Fizz Bubble Flash (buy from Amazon)
A drop of Water (req from library)
What's smaller than a Pygmy Shrew (req from library)
Backyard Science Series 2- req from library
What is the World Made Of? All about Solids, Liquids and Gases (req from library)
Bubble-ology (req from library)
Picture book of Chemistry (not avail- look for used)
Eyewitness: Chemistry (buy from Amazon)
Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake.
All about snow and ice (req from library)
Science in the Kitchen

As At Home Science notes, most elementary science living books seem to be toward nature. That is probably because nature is a natural science teacher and it also gels with Charlotte Mason nicely as that is part of her overall educational philosophy. Our nature study is still in the infancy stages. It is noted in various quotes throughout the Handbook of Nature Study that;

In nature study the work begins with any plant or creation which chances to interest the pupil.


As soon as nature- study becomes a task it should be dropped;

So we will continue with nature study as part of our science indirectly but I plan to have this be a self-directed activity so that he will keep with the enthusiasm. This was our first year of nature study and we are (both) still pre-schoolers in this area!

I will be updating a more concrete book and experiment book once I review the books from the library. (I books out right now and I think almost 30 requested. dollars at work!!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Retelling an article on retelling....part one...

This post is my narration / retelling of the article Improving Reading Comprehension Through Retelling as written in the Summer '08 Charlotte Mason Educational Review. This is part one...focusing on the background and current brain research.

There are five paths to long term memory
  • Semantic - understanding words

  • Episodic - associated with location

  • Procedural - repetition of movement

  • Automatic - conditioned response triggered by a stimulus

  • Emotional - feelings

Teachers rely on semantic but emotional is the most effective. The article gives potential reasons for this but I prefer less specific banter..It is what it is...I've seen it. In addition to reasons, the article also lists ways to enhance learning. Here are some we have done and will continue to enhance learning to make emotional connections.

  • Act out the book with "characters"

  • Do real world math. Just yesterday at a birthday part a kiddo was adding up his loot for a future trip to target. 15+10= $25 bucks man! I have to caution myself on this. Sometimes just play should be is not ALWAYS a lesson
  • Field Trips (more on that below.)
  • Draw during narration
  • Build Models- we did this as part of a homeschool lego class
  • Experience Books

Here are some things I WANT to do:

  • Graphic Organizers
  • Use various techniques such as videotaping to encourage narration
  • Ask less, listen more
  • Build a peer group, of just a couple of kid, to see if this encourages narrating. (More on that in a later blog as peer narration is talked about extensively in the article.)
  • Build more models

Making Connections

Another interesting point made is that those who are experts in a certain area tend to put info in much larger chunks. I know Andrew is a 'global' thinker. I recently blogged on my arts blog about how Andrew made a connection between waves in a puddle and the vibrations on musical instruments. I don't think this way- but i'd like to. I have a short long term memory. Aut-2-B-home recently directed me back to the Childlight Reviews and an article on scaffolding learning. I had read it, printed it, and even narrated on it via my blog...and still I forgot quite a bit. But I do have the general sense in my brain. I wonder how you make those global connections better as an adult??? I guess just doing it more helps you get better;)

The next section in the article tells us more on this- the HOW to make connections.

The best way to relate information read or presented is to correlate it to personal information. This could include graphic organizers or even pictures from a field trip. We have done oodles of Experience Books so perhaps I will pull these out even as we re-visit the same places over and over again. . Other ideas to cement things to personal experience includes field trips. I ponder how the public schools do field trips all the time- but what do they DO at the field trips??? I have seen them at Cranbrook, the Detroit Zoo, and the Detroit Institute of Arts with clipboards, worksheets and pen answering specific questions as related by the teacher or instructor. I think providing direction is important and it often frustrates me that Andrew wants to go off in his own direction; but when he does that he often finds his own connections. I need to continue working on the GUIDED participation as I don't feel that is cemented yet but it is sometimes nice just to go for a walk and see where it takes us. It is difficult to toggle back and forth between the two. (Any suggestions are welcome.) But these connections / discoveries are much greater for the child when made by the child. We need to provide the scaffolding but let the child remove the tarp to discover what is underneath.



Spencer, Jennifer. (2008) Improved Reading Comprehension Through Retelling. Charlotte Mason Educational Review. pg 13

Wolfe, P. (2001). Brain matters: translating research into classroom practice. Alexandria, VA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hovering.....and social graces.

I am so thankful that we were invited to a birthday party today. To my friend whose kids' party it know who you are and it touched my heart.

As a bit of background, I was just with a few moms having dinner- all have autistic kids. We were saying how we have to hover around our children. One mom commented that another mom walked into a haircut place with many kids. She (the mom w/ the AI kid) thought- gee I am sure they will have to hover and keep an eye on them. But no..there was no need to hover even with many kids. And this isn't a behavioral thing that the child gets into "trouble." They just don't 'get' the social graces or safety issues. Rather, it comes slowly. We "reaffirmed" the hovering thing at a graduation party last weekend as we were always on top of Andrew. It is what it they say...I want to scaffold things for Andrew so that he doesn't miss out but at the same time I need to make sure he isn't in "over his head." (just as a bit of an aside, I've been reading about all the similarities of
Alzheimer and autism...both in the origin and in the way it plays itself out with it's caretakers. I'm going to blog on that some day- but wondered if anyone else had thoughts about this.)

I mostly write about all the rip roaring positive stuff but thought I'd interject a bit of 'humor' as to how a party goes with a kid like Andrew....

Chapter one...Andrew can read.

There were two kids with T-shirts with words there. The first one said, "I see your lips move but all I hear is blah blah blah." Well, Andrew spent quite a bit of time trying to befriend her because there was a monkey on the shirt. He loves monkeys. He also went around saying to people..."I see your lips move but all I hear is blah blah blah." And if they hadn't seen the shirt then..well..Andrew looked kind of rude. (The shirt WAS very funny!)

Another's shirt said "Princess." Andrew kept trying to kiss her....many times. I thought the shirt said something along the lines of "if you kiss me I will turn into a princess" but he had gotten the idea from a TV show. On the way home he questioned me and he truly did NOT know that trying to kiss someone was rude. I guess he is mostly around close friends and family so this does make sense. I still haven't gotten it out of him if he thinks she will really turn into a princess.

On the subject of 'rude" we have recently read Captain Underpants. Bad idea....Andrew pulled down his pants at the party LAST weekend. He thought it was funny. I told everyone, "don't laugh." Of course Captain Underpants is twaddle; The
Emperor's New Clothes however is not. We read that today and it reinforced that being naked in public is OK. um...I was hoping for a different connection.

Chapter 2....Science experiments....and Juice Bags

Juice bags are very inviting. Andrew is adamant to NOT eat or drink anything that may effect his behavior. Taking the used packages out of the garbage and trying to blow them up like balloons is another matter.

Chapter 3....Tracking

Andrew loves to 'keep track' of things. One way we have scaffolded this is to take pictures. He was most interested in taking pictures of ALL the presents. Try as I might to keep him out of the way it was most difficult. He may never look at the pictures...but they must all be accounted for in his mind. My choice was to stay and take the pictures or leave in a fit of screaming. This time I chose to stay.

Andrew had a rip roaring time. I was exhausted to be sure! (ps: I was going to post a picture but I don't like to post other people's kids without permission so you will just have to use your imagination for now.)

Book List

Here is a link to the list of the books we read in the first half of 2008.

I am creating a new list here for our summer '08 books. This is not all inclusive as Andrew spends HOURS reading every day. We have already read about 10 in the past week so I'll just start with today and add on. I will put a link on the sidebar so that it can be referenced easily.

The Adventure Bible for Young Readers

You are Special by Max Lucado.

The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Barrett

I Wonder Why I Blink and Other Questions About My Body by Avison

A Child's Introduction to Poetry by Driscoll

Eye on Nature Bats by Bland

Amazing Bats by Simon

Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow by Cole

PeanutButter Rhino by Andriani

The Word Song Bible

The Popcorn Book by Tomai DePaola

Peter and the Wolf various versions

Elmer and the Dragon by Gannett

Many many Curious George books again and again....

The Addition Book

Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney

Each Orange had Eight Slices (buy for Living Math.) by Giganti

Mouse of my Heart by Margaret Wise Brown

Third Grade Detectives #4

Arthur's Mystery Envelope

Arthur Accused

Garfield Comics


The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown

Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola (great wordless book!!)

Benny's Pennies by Pat Brisson (Living Math)

It looked like Split Mil by Charles G. Shaw

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter

Pete's Pizza by William Steig

Tooter Pepperday by Jerry Spinelli

The Emporer's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

Many misc. books before bed...old favorites

Friday, June 13, 2008

IEP Goals

I am working on Andrew's IEP. It is not needed in the MI school system but I am doing it to give me some focus. I found two great resources.

The IEP goals and Objectives Bank is 177 pages and contains academic and life skill goals for birth through 12th grade. Quite comprehensive.

The Speaking of Speech Goals bank is...well...specific to language and speech.

Then of course I need to make some guided participation goals.

This is all part of the yearly planning I am doing for the '08-'09 school year. It is tough to remain true to task and only schedule the subjects I planned on doing in The Big Picture
Related Posts with Thumbnails