Sonya, I don’t know if you read my post on the other thread about special needs. You asked about my 15yo daughter with PDD-NOS and her level of work. I pasted what I wrote in the other thread, to keep it from getting overlooked by other posts. Any suggestions are appreciated.
I would say she is probably 4th to 5th grade. Her reading has improved over the past couple of years, but comprehension varies so much. In her writing, she is getting better at putting thoughts in order, but sometimes the way she expresses herself doesn’t make sense, whether it is sentence structure or even her choice of words. She will use words out of context or order and sometimes say nonsensical things. Sometimes I know what she means, so I will say the correct words or order of words so she can hear them in proper order or context.
I have her using Adventures in Writing by Joyce Herzog. She can write stories. She likes this since each story has a picture to look at. There are also a list of words to choose from to use in her story. She hasn’t been doing it long, but so far I think she has done a good job telling stories about the pictures. I will help her make spelling corrections in those stories, as well as making sure she has complete sentences or making sure she doesn’t have run-on sentences, which she will do at times.
I am also reading Grammarland to her, hoping it will help her a little to understand the basic parts of speech. I just don’t know what areas are most important to focus on at this age. She wants to feel grown-up, but when she is working at such a low level for her age, it’s hard to know how to give her work sometimes that will not feel too ‘babyish’ to her. If it were up to her, she would skip bookwork and just do life skills. But, I would like her to get some sort of diploma. I know she can still learn some things in the books, but sometimes I feel like giving up, because I know I lose her. On a positive note, she has definitely been engaged in our Bible studies. She will write things down in a notebook, like points given or Scripture references. She is growing spiritually, but the academics………minimal gains. She just does not retain much information. What she remembers most is exciting books I read to her. She has been doing a little more reading on her own, but she prefers me reading to her. I’m sure it is from the dyslexia. Some days she is anxious to read by herself, and other days she resists, because it is a struggle.
To give you an example of her spelling, today she was writing on a little white board easel for fun. She wanted to write lunch break. She wrote lunch brack. It doesn’t matter how often I explain short and long vowel rules, she just writes whatever comes to mind. Some other examples: wining instead of winning. I’ve explained to her many times that by not doubling the consonant when adding -ing, it makes the vowel long. She knows what short and long mean. Also, she was writing the word Christian today, which she has written many times correctly. (she used to just miss the -h) She spelled it today….Christchan. There is no rhyme or reason to her spelling. Some days she will spell certain words correctly, and other days she will spell the same words incorrectly.Sonya ShaferModerator
Yes, I replied on the other thread.
RE the spelling sample here: If she is at a 4th or 5th grade level, I wouldn’t worry too much now. It sounds like she just wants to get her ideas out, so she doesn’t stop to ponder which spelling rules should be applied first. That’s typical. And it’s great that she wants to express herself in writing!
Allow her those extra years to make gradual progress with her spelling accuracy and consistency. Continue to feed her mind by reading her good books, and encourage her to read for herself when she feels able. The more she sees the words, the more the spelling will be reinforced. But with the dyslexia in play also, she will need more unpressured time and gentle reminders, as you are doing.
Keep her experience with words positive, and don’t feel like you have a time deadline. Giving her some kind of diploma is great, but her education can (and should) continue after that too.
Thanks, Sonya. I wasn’t sure about the grammar. I will reread what you have here and on the other thread and adjust some things accordingly. I appreciate your help. It’s always been a challenge to find what works best for her.
Sonya, after reading your recommendations again and thinking about reading comprehension, would the important part of that be narration?
Also, you said on the other thread, “If she is still struggling with word order and choice, it seems like she would benefit from more time to experiment with words and secure the ground under her feet with using them comfortably to express her ideas”. What is the best way to do that? I will give her the correct order and/or word(s) orally (as in narration) and in her writing. In what other way(s) could she ‘experiment’ with words? If I take ‘vocabulary’ words from what is being read, what kinds of activities would you recommend to learn/use the words?Sonya ShaferModerator
If she can narrate, yes, that’s going to be the best way to evaluate comprehension.
I was thinking of what you’re already doing with her writing stories. Then you can use those as opportunities to gently reinforce correct spelling and word order, as you are doing. I wouldn’t take vocabulary words out of their context for her; I think she needs to learn word meanings within a story line. So if a word is unfamiliar, you could point it out and give its meaning in terms that she can relate to; but I wouldn’t recommend giving her a list of vocabulary words or isolated activities.
All in all, I think what you’re doing with the stories is great and fits her well. It sounds like it is right in the zone for her to learn without feeling overwhelmed.
Sonya, I appreciate your help very much. I was afraid I was not doing enough in this area. She can tell me a little about something that is read, but she doesn’t always process why certain things are happening. She does better if I ask her questions about the story. So, we will focus on reading/comprehension/word meaning and writing stories/correcting spelling errors and word order. I believe dropping grammar will make it more enjoyable for her. Thank you!!
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