When Sugar Pea was in 1st grade she was diagnosed with an Auditory Processing Disorder. Imagine Dyslexia for the ears. She had a hard time with verbal directions, and needed to see examples of things she was supposed to do.
After she was diagnosed and we focused her IEP on this and her speech delay, things should have gotten better for her.
2nd grade wasn't bad, but the teacher did a lot of the assessments orally, so she did really good.
Then 3rd grade came around and things started to get harder and she started struggling again.
By the end of 3rd grade she was behind, but not enough to qualify for extra resources through the district. Because, you know, they wait until they are so far behind there's no hope in catching up.
4th grade comes around and things totally change. The class had 2 teachers last year. Monday and Wednesday was English and Social studies with one teacher and Tuesday and Thursday were Math and Science with another teacher. So the class as a whole fell behind. Sugar Pea even farther behind. This was both good and bad. Bad because she was so far behind the rest of the class, but good because she finally qualified for extra testing and resources through the district.
Down side to all this is the district took their sweet time testing her, and while I demanded it almost daily, that got pushed aside when Tin Man got his new heart.
It wasn't until the last week in May, the week before school was out, that we sat down and had the "official" meeting. All the tests showed that not only does she have the APD, but she also has a Visual Processing Disorder. Meaning to much information on a page gets jumbled up in her brain and she has a hard time deciphering what's supposed to go with what. She also has problems with short term memory. Her long term memory is great, but she has a problem retaining things that she reads, or memorizing things, like math facts or spelling words.
This makes reading extremely hard. Not to mention math almost impossible. Imagine trying to do a page of math when you're not sure what numbers go with what.
One of the things that was given to me during the meeting was a packet of information on VPD. I read that thing front to back about 5 times. One of the main things that it says, is kids with VPD need larger print. Larger print and less information on a page. Bring in the Kindle. We were able to increase the size of the print and almost instantly I could see a difference in her reading.
Math has been a little trickier. I've had to get creative on how to make it easier for her. In stead of focusing on 10 math facts at a time we have to focus on 2 a day. Once she has those down pack, then we move on to the next 2. This takes so much longer, but she's not nearly as frustrated as she was.
Also 1 problem per page and she does great. But put in 30 problems on a page and everything starts to swim together. I ended up stapling several index cards together with a square cut out of one of them. She puts this square over the problem she's doing and it covers up the rest of the page. She was embarrassed to use it at first, but once she realized that it made everything much easier, she decided not to fight me on it.
At the beginning of the year I sat down with the teacher, resource teacher, speech teacher, and the principal and we went over everything I had found over the summer and what did and didn't work for Sugar Pea. We then came up with a more detailed IEP that included giving her more time, and a quiet space to work if she needs it. Also adding the use of a Kindle to the IEP so there would be no room for complaining by others about her using it. I also brought her index card thing and explained the difference in her ability to do a page of math using it and without using it. We decided that the teacher would do her initial assessment without it and then redo it a few days later with it and compare the differences.
Yesterday when I picked her up her teacher asked if I had a minute to talk. Instantly I had this moment of dread that I was going to be given the lecture that Sugar Pea is "this" far behind and the teacher doesn't want to deal with it. I got this a lot last year.
So needless to say I was in total shock when she told me that she did a reading and math assessment on her yesterday and she's testing at middle of 4th grade reading level. (end of 4th grade she tested at beginning/middle of 1st grade level) and she's right on track with math!!
You have no idea how thrilled I was to hear this! We spent a lot of time this summer working on trying to get her as close as possible to grade level. I knew I wouldn't be able to get her to grade level, and I knew she was doing really well but I had no idea that the little things we changed had worked so well for her.
We have another IEP meeting next month to go over how she's doing since the beginning of the school year. The teacher will give her a more in depth assessment on reading and math and then we'll go from there.
I couldn't wait to tell Sugar Pea the great news. I decided this called for a special trip to Yogurtland (I'm like a kid when it comes to Yorgurtland) to give her the good news and a special treat.
I'm so proud of her and all the hard work she's put in the last few months.