Monday, December 10, 2012

Progress on All Fronts

Friday, I bit the bullet and went into the Savoy Recreation Center to walk 45 minutes. If I could get to 45 minutes without stopping, this meant (at least to my physical therapists) I could start moving onto more difficult exercises. It might also mean that I could cut back from 3 visits a week to 2 visits a week, which is nice in not only getting some of my time back, but is also nice because my copay is $30 each visit! (I get totally re-evaluated tomorrow, so I'll know then). Anyway, I completed 45 minutes which was nearly 3 miles. This is very exciting because three weeks ago on Thanksgiving I walked 1.8 miles in 51 minutes. Two legged work is now easy... but now I have to focus on one-legged work. And that's a lot harder.

The other progress has been coming from X-man. He's learned to make a regular capital R, and he's doing it most of the time now when he writes his name.  He used to make what looked like a popsicle with two sticks coming out of it on angles for his R. You can see an example of the popsicle R on the lined paper image below when he writes the R in his name. But the correct R is on the less neatly written unlined image further below.

His "copying" has gotten really good. So when you give him a word to write, lined paper and some time, he does pretty great. It's readable.

When you ask him to make a list often gives you hieroglyphics. He'll point to the letter-like symbols and tell you what they say. That's normal for beginning writers (you'll often see kids do it in pre-k). It's just not usually neurotypical for a first grader. But now, since he's been writing more and reading more, he's starting to pick up the letter sounds at the beginning and the end of words. He wrote a letter to Santa the other day where he copied some words (because we went over what the different parts of a letter are and he could see words like please, thank you, etc. in my letter example). But he phonetically spelled nice = nis. I don't correct him when he does this because he's finally starting to be able to deal with the auditory part in his brain. When he reads, he's mostly memorizing words and word order. That makes spelling so much more difficult. He's a very visual learner.

Anyway, at school they were supposed to make a list of jobs. This is what came out.

Number 1 is Architect. It starts with an "r" sound and ends in a "t." He had to explain to me what it was, but once he did, I got it, plus, he knows that's what his cousin Nathan plans on studying at college next fall.
Number 2 is Dom. Meaning dome. He had to tell me he was referring to the people who dance and sing and put the shows together at Assembly Hall, our local theater space, which is, indeed, a dome of sorts. (A saucer would be perfectly acceptable in my head, too.).
Number 3 is the same. He knew Dom wasn't quite right, and said he got frustrated, so he tried to write it again.
Number 4 I knew without asking. "Mathman." (i.e., He can grow up and be just like Don Cohen.) Notice that he knew that math starts with "ma" but has trouble with blended sounds like "th" or "sh." His spelling test this week was all about those two blends, so we'll see how he did. But it's clear that he knows how to spell "man."
Number 5 or 6 are anyone's guess. I guessed 5 was "Cook Cop" but drew a blank for number 6. And he was tired of talking about it and had moved on. So, I guess I'll never know. :-)

But you can see a radical difference in how he copies when the visual letters are there in front of him and the obvious struggle his brain has when trying to work on spelling words in his head and putting them down on paper. Suddenly lined paper doesn't make sense. Spacial awareness between letters totally disappears. It's like decoding the phonetics and translating the sounds to letters and then thinking about how to form the letters correctly gets all jumbled up in his brain.

We checked out a book from the library called "Ralph Tells a Story." In it Ralph is never able to think of a story to write during writing time. And finally, he thinks of one. My favorite part of the story though is the illustrations, which show that during "sharing" time, Ralph holds his paper to his chest and TELLS this elaborate story in his head about finding an inchworm to play with that a baby comes along and stuffs down his diaper (ewwww!) and then it crawls out. But when you see his paper, you see that what he wrote was one five word sentence. I pointed that out to X-man, and he was fascinated. His goal is to be able to write that one five word sentence from his head like Ralph regularly. I think he's close. He did after all tell Santa in his letter, "You are nis."

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