As you know I am not a consistent blogger, but have been terrible of late. We have had some new circumstances at our home that have been driving our days. I am blogging about these events, because I can tell you that blogs have helped me gain alot of knowledge during this time of research. It is reading other homeshcool mom's blogs that have inspired me and given great creative ideas on how to manage all of my new roles.
My oldest daughter (11) has been identified as having Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). This is combined with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and slow processing. Some things we have seen she she was tiny were "hearing problems" that never showed up in testing, reversals in writing, math issues, inability to spell, difficulty communicating verbally or in writing, very messy handwriting, skipping chunks of worksheets, inability to follow multi-step directions either verbal or written, grammar not making sense, inability to do copywork, and many other organization issues.
Last year I learned of Diane Craft, http://www.diannecraft.org/. She has a program of exercises- physical and handwriting- that can help your child overcome mixed dominance, auditory processing and visual processing issues. We did these at home for nine months. In March of this year, I knew we needed to have professional intervention, even though some things were better since using Diane Craft's materials. I started with an audiologist that specializes in CAPD. Our testing lasted about 3 hours, and cost $330. He was able to determine the exact areas where MEWs CAPD was showing up. Words like binureal, integration, and auditory memory were thrown around at the assessment. He sent us to a pediatric physical therapist beacuse some of MEWs issues were showing up not only as CAPD.
We went to the PPT who did a full evaluation. She refered us to a Neuronet provider to help with the CAPD. Neuronet is a program that is overseen bi-weekly by a trained provider. Their website is http://www.neuronetonline.com/. You then have daily exercises to do that help co-ordinate the brain, hearing, vestibular system, with other specifics like handwriting, math, reading comprehension, etc. We have a CD that we do our exerices to that has a metrenome on it. We count or say our alphabet while doing jumping jacks, rocking back and forth or stool-stepping. This therapy takes me about one hour to oversee since I have all three girls involved in it. We also do handwriting exercises to the CD. The entire Neuronet program is expected to take about 6 months. We paid $125 for our evaluation, and $75 per visit thereafter.
The other big news from our PPT is that ME can not visualize. This means if she reads the sentence, "The white dog walked across the road," she does not picture that as a movie in her mind. This causes probelems with spellling, reading comprehension, learning languages, following directions, etc. There is a program called Verbalizing and Visualining (V/V) that can train the brain to think in pictures or movies. Certified therapists offer it, but it is thousands of dollars. Our PPT recommended that I purchase the program and take ME through it. She has seen great success with homeshcooling parents doing it with their children. The biggest catch to V/V is that for it to be successful, 2-4 hours per day, five days a week have to be devoted to it. I don't do anything for that amount of time a day, so this is the challenge. We have decided to do V/V from 7-9pm at night, and 1 hour on the afternoons I don't have to go anywhere. Dad gets to take up all the evening slack with the littles and cleaning up the house while ME and I hide out in my bedroom. This therapy involves alot with pictures and telling back what she imagines. I am helping ME to construct images in her mind of the pictures. We have to do 120 hours of therapy, and will meet at the end with our PPT to be sure that she has learned how to visualize.
In the fall we will begin a computer program which will help in speed processing. Our PPT expects this to improve with Neuronet, but still thinks we will have to have more therapy in this area. The additional sensory integration issues will be dealt with in the fall too.
The other problems at the forefront have been that EJ is showing similar learning difficulties, and some worse than ME. Therefore, I have begun teaching all three girls our language arts through Spell to Write and Read (SWR) combined with Cursive First. For ME, all of this is remedial, for EJ it is somewhat remedial, since most of her letters are written upside down and backward and she has been trying to learn phonograms for over a year now. LG is the only child getting SWR as a first time learner. Anyway, SWR is the most teacher intensive homeschooling curriuculm I have ever tried to learn. BUT, I am already seeing huge turn arounds in both ME and EJ. I will be sticking with it, there is a great yahoo support group. We have been using it for 2 weeks, and already ME is beginning to understand why phonograms are important and how they apply to spelling. EJ is loving the salt box and beginning to get numbers and letters going the right direction. For anyone who is curious, SWR is nothing like All About Spelling (AAS) even though everyone says AAS is just a simpler version. I took ME through the entire level one of AAS and she never understood phonograms or spelling patterns. Also, AAS does not work on handwriting, and we need the remedial help that is offered as part of SWR. That said, I would encourage moms to research and consider starting their children out with SWR, since you don't ever know if you are going to end up with a learning disabled child. It does help iron out alot of kinks from the beginning by integrating the handwriting, with phonograms and spelling rules. The more I learn about the brain development, the more I learn how integrated and interdependent all the parts of the brain are. One area does not develop in a vacuum.
That is the update on life. I hope to journal about our journey, since I have been learning there are alot of homeschoolers that are struggling with similar issues, questions and intuitively know things are "not right." The Lord is good to let us homeschool throughout this and has provided all our "team" that are also very pro-homeschooling. Our Neuronet provider even homeschools herself. They have given great curriculum recommendations and "hands-on" ideas for teaching everything from outlining to phonemic awareness.