Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy letter "A"

School is in full swing and we are trying to stay on schedule.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all have one 30 minute drop in Therapy session.
The rest of that day will include some kindergarten type activities.
I'm working on a scope and sequence as I type this
Introducing a letter, number and color each week makes sense.
She knows her colors so we are learning to read the colors name
and some simple coloring pages from an inclusive preschool review book have been included since high success rates keep this girl motivated.

Lil G has sight words that we review each day,
I use the quick flash method.
I've added a few words and will wait until she doesn't hesitate before adding more.
We are up to thirty words in this stack.
Currently we are using flash cards that I bought at our local $ Tree.
There were several versions preK, Kindy, and first grade, verbs......
They are 2" bold print so perfect for what we need.
( having 20/200 vision and 3 power bifocals allows her to see things this large quite well)
I bought two of each set so we could play matching games etc with them.

I also have a phonics flip book that has CVC ( consontant vowel consonant) beginning words in it.
Each letter flips on its own.
We've mastered the - at ending words. 
Last week we added the -an endings.

I've continued working with HWT ( handwriting without tears) writing program.
The only thing I have changed is the pace we are working at.
I'm introducing letters in her name right now.
We had started with the letters E,F, L, which is how the curriculum works,
 and she insisted on learning X.
This is the order used in HWT mind you but I have regrouped and I am going out of order.
Since Lil G is legally blind I have decided to focus primarily on the skills that will get her moving educationally. I will continue to work with handwriting but our focus will be primarily on Braille.
 Both for literacy and communicating.
In her handwriting she will need to know her name so we have switched gears-
She has now mastered the order of the letters in her name and can read her name! 
If you are curious and have questions feel free to ask.

She received a soft touch Perkins brailler over the summer.
I've placed it on a small child's desk in her old bedroom and keep paper in it in case she feels the need to type. No pressure.
When she pushes the #1 cell key that makes an "A" so I say, "a" and so on.......
Which leads me to dream a little.......
Oh how I would love to have a smart brailler.
It would provide the feedback that seems to motivate my little one.
There were five children chosen to "host" the traveling smart brailler over the spring/ summer. Once each family had a turn to use it and write reviews on their blog
they were listed for people to vote on who should win a smart brailler of their own.
The families that didn't win ended up getting funded 100%
by others that were generous enough to donate - $2,500 is the cost.
The website Wonderbaby started by donating $500 for each family.

What is a smart brailler? Well.... It looks just like the brailler we already have
Except it has a brain and a screen that shows what the child has typed, and audio feedback!
Yes, you read correctly! Audio feedback. There are also levels of learning programmed into it from what I understand. ( or maybe ordering the software is additional?)
Since I am blogging from my IPad I can't hotlink it for you. Just google it.
Trust me. You will be amazed.
Currently we are doing it the "old school" method.

I've asked the company selling it if the keys were easier,
The sad thing is she is typing her letters correctly but since she has Down syndrome
Her hands are small, think special order gloves from Lands  end  for infants small,
 Plus she lacks muscle strength to get the keys pushed correctly.
I don't correct her. She is doing it correctly.
Plus all this hard work will pay off, one day her hands will be stronger from all this practicing!
For " reading the Braille" I type out rows of letters that are correct for her to practice.
I can only imagine what having the smart brailler would do for her progress.
I've already seen what having an IPad has done for her.

Yesterday she sat down, typed the #1 cell key and said"A".
No prompting!
I'm pretty excited.
Baby steps. 

While I have your attention I would also like to write a book review.
I recently read " Chasing Hope" by Kathryn Cushman.
This was such a good book, I couldn't put it down. I loved the main character. She is focused and strives to do her best in everything she does, almost to a fault. Sabrina has had to walk away from her dreams and it has changed her. Sometimes that is the purpose in unexpected challenges in life. I love how the two young ladies in the book have a common interest but are from two completely different walks of life. That common interest, running, is what drew them together but they both have something to offer the other - that is what God does. I enjoyed the complex characters and real life scenarios. there was romance and some tough spots caused by illness and soul searching that had to be done by both main characters- such a great story! I can't wait to read more by this author.

Once again, thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the review copy of this book. This review is completely my own opinion.