Archives for the month of: February, 2022

So the newest and probably nicest thing we are doing is this new vision therapy program that we started with Elizabeth recently.

I know I told you about the evaluation we had and that the doctor was going to get back to us with the results of the evaluation.

So that happened:

And he told us that Elizabeth, due to her dyspraxia, sees things as a whole, meaning that she sees something like a new word. She sees the whole word, and makes a decision in her mind about that word as a whole. Her eyes do not flow over each letter to then try to sound it out. So if she doesn’t know the word, she will replace it with another word that starts with the same letter.

I have always known that people with dyspraxia memorize the English language as they learn to read, not really learning to decode it or sound it out, like I have seen my oldest and youngest did as they were learning to read.

Imagine?! Memorizing the English Language? WOW!

He then said that she does this same kind of thing when she sees anything. Such as multiple choice questions. They are looked at, quickly decided on and then she answers.

She doesn’t take the time (what we thought) to slowly go over each choice (what we try to teach her) to think about each choice and decide (what we learned is related to her eyes)

It all makes sense now. I know we KNEW lots of things about the way she bends the world to fit her disorders and I know we SAW lots of ways that that bending fell just short. But to have it explained in a way that makes it so very clear was…well, quite wonderful, actually.

He also asked us how she did when we played a game, such as how able or how much of a struggle was her ability to move her game piece the correct amount.

I told him that she did great….at first, then as the game progressed, she would become antsy and grow in irritation. Not always, but often enough.

He explained that the work involved, for her eyes, and they way that they worked to help her brain, made that S-L-O-W tracking of the game piece very hard work for her. So each time it is her turn, the work feels more like work.

WOW ,again.

It all fit together.

It makes even more sense.

He told us his plan for her, but not before telling us that “Given the depth of this issue for Elizabeth and given that she works so hard for the gains she made to this age of 24”

And here is the best words said....

“She blew me away with her vocabulary. I held up flashcards of words to see how she did. She just blew through them! She is so smart!”

We loved this!

We always knew this: Saw this in so many ways. Watched her succeed even as she worked harder than most to do it. But to hear it from someone who doesn’t know her at all is just……LOVELY, WONDERFUL AND AFFIRMING!

So after more talking about results, He gave us the plan for Elizabeth. “Like OT (occupational therapy) for her eyes.” is how he put it.

We met with the vision therapist 2 weeks later and got our actual exercises. We were told to do them once a day for 20 minutes.

I will fill you in on them next week and tell you how it is going.

But I will say this.

Elizabeth wants this! And because she does. It is infinitely easier to enjoy this work time with her than hearing the words I wrote at the top (title).

She actually reminds me each day.

WOW again.

I wish everyone a peaceful week!
Michele Gianetti author of I Believe In You

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Does anyone else simultaneously think that the school year is going both slow and fast at the same time?

I mean as we wait out current peaks and valleys of the COVID variants and what they mean to the school system the time seems to go slowly.

Then all of a suddenly we are looking at the fact that it is almost Valentine’s Day and that means almost conference time again.?!?!? How can it be here again?

When I got the call from the school that we can sign up soon, I started thinking about two things

  1. I hope that I can get the times I need because sometimes they fill up fast
  2. I remember the nerves I felt EVERYTIME there was a conference for Elizabeth.

For those who don’t know, Elizabeth is my daughter who has special needs. She has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and Global Dyspraxia

She has had an IEP since she was in the first grade and the challenges we had communicating her needs made those first few years of conferences difficult.

At the beginning of Elizabeth’s school career, we saw conference night as a time to simply chat, like we had done when we had ones for our older daughter, Emily. We would hear a bit about how the year was going so far, maybe see some of her papers and talk about plans for the next few months of school. Because after all it was not an IEP meeting….

But it was one conference night in her first year that taught us to see the conference night as more than what we thought. The teacher brought up, directly, Elizabeth’s struggles with her day, her need for constant reinforcements, her recess struggles and let’s be honest, many more things.

John and I were not really prepared for this (sad to say). We listened but did not have our IEP with us, nor did we take our notes we had made from home or from her therapist to help guide us. In fact, at one point, I had to ask the teacher if she could hand me her IEP for Elizabeth for me to see what SHOULD be happening.

We left that night feeling defeated and that we had left things too open ended. We didn’t make any real plans for changes or have any real discussions and we certainly did not know what to do next.

I know I learned

NEVER miss a chance to talk with the school about your child.

ALWAYS come prepared for any meeting- Think IEP, therapist’s reports, grades, paperwork, your notes

-ALWAYS try to get the real time report- How are they doing THIS week when YOU have them in YOUR class- Not what you have heard them doing but what you are actually noticing, both the good and not so good.

ALWAYS make a plan for the “Next Step” before you leave the conference time- This way any unanswered questions can be addressed as well as anything you may think of after and wished you had mentioned.

I wish everyone good luck as they make these plans and also remember it should always be a WE where the school and family work together for the child. Not an US and THEM. I hope that is the case for you.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself


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