Thursday, February 17, 2011
The waiting game
Johnny is growing so fast. He's up to my chin for crying out loud. How did this kid get so big? Seriously. We have our good days and our hard days. Our days when we don't worry or fret about school, where he's gentle and kind, fun-loving, telling jokes and singing to himself. Days where he's a real pleasure to be around. And then there are days when I feel as though everything I say comes back to my face with an anger and a frustration that comes out of left field.
For those of you that are new to my blog, Johnny was diagnosed with a learning disability last June. His teacher in Grade 2 was completely baffled at how he would un-learn what he had been taught the day before. He's a bright and intelligent kid and his reading and writing in particular didn't match up. Last fall he was enrolled in a really great Literacy program for grade 3's with learning disabilities. It ran from September to the beginning of December, there was only 7 kids in his class, one teacher and one Orton Gillingham Instructor. Wow, did we ever see a difference. The confidence that this program gave Johnny was immense. It was hard work- 30-45 minutes of homework 6 days a week. Spelling tests daily. Lots of practicing and reviewing. And he really improved. His reading went a whole grade-level higher. We saw a big improvement at home, his stress level and happiness level surrounding school really improved. Unfortunately the program only runs for 3 months. Now we are back in the regular school system and really struggling to keep up. There are a lot of holes in the way the regular classroom operates that can be hard for kids who struggle with learning ie split classes, too many kids in the class, teacher sharing, too many extra-curricular activities... all of these things are probably fine for regular kids, but for someone who needs space and extra concentration just to learn the basics, these things just distract.
So, what to do? I've been researching options for next year already. Grade 4 is supposedly a big year, there is lots expected of kids in this year. I've looked into a school for dyslexia here in our area. $19'500. Yeah, not likely. For grade 4??? I realize there could be scholarships but I really don't quite think that's going to cover it. I think it might be more reasonable to look into a combination of Orton Gillingham tutoring and getting him a laptop for school. If the frustration continues to mount I've even thought of home schooling him for a set time. But for that I'd have to really scale back what I do at the studio. Hard decisions.
Really at the end of this all, I know in my heart that Johnny will be a great person when he grows up. He has so much going for him and school is really only a small part of our lives over-all. And really, there's spell check for when he's going to get bogged down with the whole spelling thing, right? Everyone has stuff in their life that they will struggle with, some of us struggle with it early on, some of us later. I just hope (and pray) that we are giving him the tools to know how best to cope with his struggles now so that later in life he makes good choices. Really, isn't that all a parent can hope for?