Learning Disabilities — 5 Minutes for Special Needs — Page 2

Learning Disabilities

Post-IEP Discussion..

Wednesday was Jack’s IEP.

Let me give you a little back story here. Jack’s “teacher” is a special education professional, who routinely wears fake hair and loud (loud isn’t the best adjective, but that’s all I can come up with) jumpers/sweaters. We refer to her as The General, because, quite frankly, that’s how she acts. Things go her way or no way. So, you know about how well that works with special needs kids, right?


Anyway, The General had a death in her family and couldn’t make the IEP, so she sent her underling. Sitting in my living room, we had the SLP, the Underling, and us.

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Picture Exchange Communication System Hi-tech vs. Low-tech

I originally posted this on my own blog six months ago. I’ve gotten such a great response online and have had people asking me about our low-tech PECS so often that I thought I would post here as well.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is something we’ve been working on with Chewy. Since he’s non-verbal and has motor coordination issues, he cannot sign properly. He has plenty of signs that he uses, over 40 in fact, but they aren’t all the standard ASL or baby signing type signs. He often ends up making up his own due to his dyspraxia.
There are many options, both Hi-Tech and Low.

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Helping Kids With ADHD Make Friends

“They don’t want to play with me!” She yells, stomping up the stairs and throwing her book bag down the hall. As is my daily habit, I wait until she blows off steam and it’s calm in her room again. Then I walk in, plop on the floor next to her where she’s creating an angry-looking art project, and prompt, “Tell me about that.”

The details are different each time, but the gist is this: my daughter who has bipolar and ADHD really struggles to have friends.

  • She misses social cues
  • She gets in people’s personal space
  • Her mood swings leave friends confused about her
  • She’s loud and demonstrative (and because of development issues, seems a little clumsy)
  • She’s chronologically, but not developmentally their age.
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Homework Strategies for Moody Kids

A few weeks back in school and all the old frustrations are in full swing.

The pencil-breaking. The paper-ripping. The weeping. The gnashing of teeth. You’d think schoolwork was, in fact, hell on earth. But really it’s just hell to a child with a learning disability. Especially one that’s at the mercy of bipolar mood swings.

My 4th grader, on an IEP for auditory processing and working memory difficulties, made great strides last year with her resource specialist’s help. That was after 3 years of working with her on homework, only to have her shred her assignment and stomp off, screaming, to her room.

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The Value of Life.

…”The hard part is trying to answer the questions Walker raises in my mind every time I pick him up, What is the value of a life like his — a life lived in the twilight and often in pain? What is the cost of his life to those around him? … If Walker is so insubstantial, why does he feel so important? What is he trying to show me?”

-excerpt from Ian Brown’s Memoir “ The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son“

It was this passage of the book  The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son that first stopped me.

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New year to begin…

I know what your thinking…NEW SCHOOL YEAR?   How many days till school starts???  I have a friend that started counting the minute summer started.  I enjoy our homeschooling time together.  I love the beginning of a new year…the goals for the year, the dreams of what you want to work on, the reality of what will really happen.  The fresh Sharpened pencils, crayons (even though we have 12 boxes already), the paper, the books, the construction paper…the excitement…the adventures. 

This past school year offically closed today.  My son had his evaluation that we have to turn into our school system with our next notification letter for the upcoming school year. 

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Just Keeping Your Head Above Water

I am not sure when it was exactly, that I stopped planning ahead. It could have been when Zoe was little and ill all the time. Maybe when her big sister Olivia was still catching every virus too- but somewhere along the years with appointments, kids school stuff, daily care and flu seasons- and trying to work from home- I stopped looking ahead on my calendar and started my focus of just keeping my head above water. One day at a time.

Sometime after that, I gave up the guilt  too. Feeling remiss about the appointments I had to reschedule, the lunches I could never follow through with , the birthdays I missed, the social calls I could not return.

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Our Role & words hurt

So I was thinking, draw 3 circles on a piece of paper.  One inside the other, so really you have 3 cirles around each other(as pictured)
The inner circle is our children, this is their culture of being a child with special needs.
The middle circle is us, the parents.  We’re not in the same circle as our kids because we’ll never fully understand what it’s like to be in that inner circle.  Even if, as parents, we have special needs.  We understand that as individuals, things have changed and are not the same for our children as it was for us in our younger days.
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Learning…I’ve not written about homeschooling yet so I thought maybe this would be a good time.  Homeschooling isn’t so typical for us, we have many challenges to get over.  We do use therapies as part of our daily routine (even if we are still on sabbatical from professional therapies at our local hospital).  We do a lot of reading…Last year we read 163 books (several times each).   This year we’re working on doubling that.  We’re in the 200’s right now.  Things that I have noticed lately are that my son appears to be more aware of his surroundings and is learning to place sounds. 

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Which is Worse

I have a podcast I like to listen to.  It’s for working mom’s who are “trying to do it all and then some.”  The mom’s who run the podcast have two children each.  Their kids are about the same age with the oldest being in 2nd or 3rd grade and youngest in kindergarten.  Over the years they have dealt with some issues with their kids.  One mom’s oldest boy has ADHD while the other mom’s oldest was just diagnosed with dyslexia.

Recently the one mom commented that just because someone may have it worse than you, it doesn’t make your troubles any less real to you.  

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