Tag Archives: Dyslexia

Why Phonics ?

Pearl is convinced that we are all reading English incorrectly.She cannot understand why we are saying ‘fone ‘ for ‘pone’ and ‘filips’ for ‘pilips’.She even says her phonics book should be read as ‘ ponic book ‘ and not otherwise . She is happy that she has finally discovered it and saved the mankind from wrong pronunciation.

So today we are reading a lot of ‘ph’ words and stories and Ruby is playing ‘Garfield’s spelling and vocabulary’ CD with her.

Ever since I learned Ruby has this problem I have been raking my brain to remember how I learned reading . I have a few images of my parents and Aunts reading to me from books . Then it is me reading alone . I don’t even remember reading to my sis or bro.

From what I understood while talking to my friend who is teaching KG, only the individual sounds and initial word families are introduced in detail to the kids . From there most of the kids or all most all of them take it themselves naturally. The spelling differences and exceptions and all will be learned unknowingly in due course. Parents can facilitate this by reading to the child and encouraging them to read themselves .

But this does not happen for a dyslexic child . He always depends on the sounds for the spelling . So we have to make them familiar with all word families and exceptions . There are so many rules for the exceptions as well.

In short , teaching phonics will help a normal and gifted child to learn to read more easily and quickly while it will help a dyslexic child to overcome his difficulty at an earlier age .

Now that Pearl is also hitting the reading age I have been thinking whether I should teach her phonics or not . Reading and writing is something she is very interested in . But none of us learned phonics to start reading .Then my friend Urmi also came up with the same question. Here in this post I am just thinking out loud . If any of you can throw some more light on the topic you are welcome.

Spelling and schooling woes

Lately I have not been posting a lot on learning. Basically , we were sizing up the standards for the fourth grade and UKG.

This year their curriculum has changed and they would be having only two term exams . But that means they have assessment tests almost every other day . And lots and lots of projects to do at home and at school.

In his hurry to finish the assignments which he is doing well , Siva cannot put much time on his spelling lessons . And every time I see his book I start worrying . I never miss any chance to speak to any well informed person I come across .

A few weeks before I met an English teacher who is now taking classes for tenth standard . She assured me it will take some more time for some students . We have to give the correct support and guidance . That is all . And give them time . Some students are able to overcome it by 5th or 6th grade while for some students it will take two or three years more say, 8th grade .  I think Siva falls in the latter category . Talking to the teacher gave me the confidence to believe in him . He will come through it . I am sure .

Now we are almost back on track with our spelling lessons and other activities .I am ready to progress to some paragraph writing .I got some inspiring pieces from my friend Priya, A Home schooling Mom .Here is it :

aswathy

i am just talking about very basic stuff. last year i started paragraph for ds, god it was too hard for him.

so i went through most requirements and books and came up with my own plan.

I went to preschool level and concentrated on drawing with lots of details in them.
it was not hard.

Prek stuff
then i would ask him to write a couple of sentence about his drawing. simple sentence nothing fancy

for example

The bear sat and ate his honey

then i taught him grammar, and to separate his sentence into words.

for example bear is a noun now add a adjective like big, brown, happy, hungry
then sat…where add a noun like under a tree, behind a rock, up the hill, inside his cave
then add when word like early in the morning, on a hot sunny day
then ate is a verb add a adverb like quickly, happily, greedy
honey is a noun add adjective like golden, yummy

so now the sentence will look something is this

one hot sunny day the big brown bear, sat under the tree and quickly ate his golden honey from his pot.

now the final sentence paints a picture in the readers mind.

I think I can start from this level for both Siva and Swetha .

This year Siva has shown tremendous changes in his social developing skills even though at first he was a bit worried about the shuffling . Now I can see him bubbling when he tells about his class and activities . He has been the class  leader for last month , leader for some other groups and the class librarian  . I think the Leo is eventually coming to the front .

@ Cherai Beach… Before and After !

Before:

Two or three years before, I realised with shock that my son is really suffering for what we want him to be. Every thing was in chaos .I wondered were I went wrong. After I realised, he is a dyslexic child from the movie ‘TZP’ , it took me weeks, even to make a meager plan of what could be done. And even more effort to explain to every body what he might be going through.

The first decision I made was that I will just step back and see what he would do with out me asking him what he should.Because right then my kids would not listen to anything I say.(seem to be eons ago 😀 ) . The words I spoke most was ‘DON’T DO ‘ and ‘YOU MUST ‘.

I learned to let them do what they wanted. Swallowed the words that came to my mouth. A few days later, we all went to  Cherai beach for a picnic. I told his father also to let him free , not to tell him any ‘ dos and don’t s ‘ but to make sure that he is safe. It took a lot of effort to keep our mouth shut. But it was worth it. In the evening when we were about to return, Ruby came to me and said with twinkling eyes

‘ Mother, it is a great day! isn’t it ? It is my most favourite day! ‘ .

Thinking of it even now bring tears to my eyes. Then I realised the pressure we put on him every day to make him behave like normal kids. ( sorry, I don’t have any snaps of that day as I wanted nothing to take away my attention and kept the camera away )

It was about 2 or 3  years back . It has been a long way since then. The only thing he needed was somebody who would believe in him with no bones in it. And we believed in him .

My daughter , Pearl who is the most unique and smartest among three of us almost hated me then . There was no effective communication between us. I always tried to draw the line which was the last thing she wanted. It took  even more effort for me to reach her.

I was busy making both of them perfect , seeing that they had all they wanted , making sure they were well nourished and well groomed , that I didn’t had enough time to have fun with them.

After  3 years:

We went to the same old beach again a few days before.  It is one of our unsaid family agenda to go to some place once in a few months , where we have nothing else but kids to distract us. Whatever they say is the rule !

I was amazed to see two of them ( who are too difficult to be controlled any where ) to be completely  in tune with the nature , as though that is the place where they belong !

And Ruby announced that it is his dream come true !

A lot has changed . I don’t take them to meetings or club parties unless that cannot be absolutely avoided because it is impossible to manage them there. Instead we go to parks where they can explore to their will, to exhibitions where they can linger as much as they want, read all the boards and see all the domes , follow whatever they find interesting , to beaches or to any place where they enjoy themselves.

Now three of us are the best friends and my kids are my treasure. ( And Hubby is most proud of it even though he does not let it spoil us ).

I always thought I am a bit crazy( or exaggerating ) . I could see in other people’s eyes ‘ Why you are taking so much effort just to bring up two kids ? They will just grow up. ‘  But all of them would never realise how different my kids are.

Dyslexia and reading

I want to share with you that reading is not  easy for  a dyslexic kid. The word ‘ dyslexia ‘  itself means difficulty in reading and writing. You will wonder what is wrong with your child. It is not at all something you can compare with a normal child.

Ruby had difficulty in writing from the board and complained of letters disappearing and blinking on the black board. His copied notes were full of spelling mistakes and he would strain his eyes while reading as if he can’t see. I took him to the ophthalmologist almost three times. And the results were the same.  6/6 vision. No problem with the eyes.

Even now it is difficult for him to read . When he was in first and second  levels , I thought he would never be able to read by himself.

He cannot connect the phonics and spellings as we do ( almost automatically ), unless he is familiar with that word. No matter however he wants to. No matter how much he knows. Our only option is to improve his vocabulary and make him familiar with the words . And that means almost every word in English literature.

But thankfully now he has taken up reading as his hobby. It took a lot of  effort from our side. It was a slow process. Now almost always you can see him with a book in his hand. He has finished with the first book of Harry Potter all by himself. And he literally sleeps with books. Every time we see him poring over a book our heart swell with pride.

My eyes  fill up with tears when I hear him reading aloud. It will be full of jargon . And I look away so that he doesn’t see me. Now with great difficulty,  we have learned to overlook it , as reading is something he really enjoys and is proud of.

A stranger who listens to him reading and who doesn’t know him close may think he is a dumb child. And I have to alert them before they make some off hand comments.

I have to give him confidence and support . It is a tricky game to keep the balance .

Abacus Training: A mom’s view

Being a Maths phobic Mom ( I am a Dyscalculic ) , it was very difficult for me to teach my son , even the basics of mathematics. When he was in 1st std we both had a tough time learning maths. He was not able to do even simple sums and tables and I didn’t know how to teach him.

By the time he finished counting on fingers he forgot what he was counting and where to write them. And messed up with the answers. Anybody would say he was careless. He was a very slow writer. Couldn’t complete his notes often. He had problems with mirror writing and spellings also.

It was at that time I heard about abacus classes. ( If you don’t know what is an abacus click here )The word brought to my mind images of kids who can do the most complex sums with great speed and accuracy. My son was far behind when compared to that and I was afraid to send him for fear of failure. Then Priya Mam explained to me all about the benefits of Sip Abacus and Brain Gym . And to me it was a boon. What I needed was something to comprehend the brain functions. The maths skills were an added benefit.

From the first day of class itself Ruby got very much interested in it. The teachers were very friendly and jolly yet professional and competent. He is always enthusiastic to go to Abacus classes.

The first change came with writing. Practicing left and right hand writing improved his writing speed . I never had to worry about his notes again. Visualisation games helped with his mirror writing problem. Practising Brain Gym improved his concentration and memory.

And most of all by doing Abacus his maths skills improved very much. Now he beats me when I try to check him with a calculator. He is now in third standard and I am not at all worried about his Maths lessons. I just have to brush him up for the exams. That is all.

One thing you have to do as a parent is , You have to see that the child does the brain gym and abacus regularly and consistently to get the maximum benefits.

Sip Abacus

To wind up I asked him what did he gain from the Abacus classes and these are my son’s words “ It made me a speed writer , helped me to improve my hand writing , improved my maths skills, concentration and memory. “

My special thanks to his Abacus Trainer Ms.Priya and her team. They gave him confidence, support and freedom to evolve.

Birds in my neighborhood

This is the first chart Siva has done by himself. Well, It needed a lot of poking and patience from my side.

One of Siva’s new year resolutions ( of course , just like you thought I made it for him ) is that he will write down the pictures that comes to his mind and just like they come. No need to think if it will be OK !

They had to observe 3 birds for a few days and write down what they saw.

And here we are, All done and hmm.. well… almost neatly !

My moment of pride is he wrote the name himself. He would not have done  it,… if he thought it is not up to it or that he did not earn it . Until now I had written the names for all his assignments. And this is something!

Birds in my neighborhood

Crow

It is the most common bird in Kerala. It is black in colour.

There is crow’s nest on my mango tree. I can see it from my terrace. The nest is made of sticks and dried grass. One day I saw the crow chasing a cuckoo away.

It perches on the branches and pecks almost anything. Sometimes I see it flying in small groups. It readily flies down to eat the bread crumbs and grains we throw.

It returns to its nest by sunset and there will be a lot of noise.

Sparrow

It is a small bird. Light and dark brown in colour. I see a lot of sparrows in my front garden.

They perch on small trees and hop on the ground. They feed on the  insects and earth worms.

Sometimes we keep left over grains for them. They even comes inside our house.It has a sweet voice.

There is a sparrow’s nest on our bed room ventillation. It is made of hay. Sometimes in the night we can hear the birds chirping.

Humming bird

It is the smallest bird. It has a long and thin beak.

There are 4-5 humming birds which visit my garden every day. They keep on flapping their wings while they drink nectar from the flowers. They can fly backwards .   Every evening two of them come and sit on the jasmine vine. We even took a photo.

Also in my neighbourhood I have seen bulbuls, Mynah, kingfisher, quail, parrot , egret, pegion, wood pecker, owl, wag tail, and crow patridge ( uppan ).

Multiplication Board

Multiplication tables were one of our greatest problems in maths. Last year somehow I made him write the tables.

But this year it is problems and also division.If I had not found this post on Tiffany’s Child’s play I dont know what I would have done. With the help of this board and with the help of the patterns I was able to reach his brain at last. Even I dont know the tables correctly. So it is a great relief to see him do it nicely.

I think the basic thing to do easy maths is to learn the tables. Addition tables, multiplication tables and division tables. That is what always keeps me behind.

Siva preparing for his Maths exams.