Friday, January 28, 2011

Trying to help my son

I've been trying my best to avoid and ignore this, or blame it on other issues, but I just can't any more.

Lee needs extra help in school. If I were to press a diagnosis, my guess would be something akin to ADD (not ADHD; he's not hyperactive). Lee just has a really hard time focusing on a task, especially when there's other things going on. Preschool has been very good for him, and he loves it. But he is sadly behind the other students in his class. I am trying not to compare him or rush him or judge him. He is still four years old after all! But, I am trying to get prepared for his future and figure out how to guide and teach him now, while I still can.

Lee's current preschool teacher and I have been talking about how to help him, and she is really good at keeping him in smaller groups whenever she can. That helps, but not as much as I wish it could. Ideally, Lee could spend the majority of his learning time one on one with a teacher. But in this world's public education system--not going to happen. I've considered homeschooling, but the social environment has been so good for him, that I can't go that route (yet). Lee's teacher even mentioned testing for special education, which might be able to get him into a more secluded program, or setting up an IEP (individual education plan). Those are definite possibilities.

If I had a lot of money, perhaps I could hire a tutor. But since I don't, the ultimate responsibility has--of course, just as it should--fallen back on me. I've been reading to Lee and letting him color when he wants and other "normal" things, but I need to take deeper measures now. Yesterday I invested some money and time and made a bunch of flash cards and materials that I can use with Lee during our practice time. We've now made a goal to practice/do "homework" for half an hour every day before any TV time.

The result so far--he was focused and calm through our whole practice time. We worked yesterday and today, and I did notice some good improvement on number recognition and tracing his own hand. He listened and followed instructions so well and I am very proud of him. He was able to do all the things his teacher set as "goals" already. Of course, that's with me, in the quiet of our own home, and not in his busy classroom. I have been taking notes each day so I can show them to Lee's teacher. So, I have high hopes that with a little extra attention and time, he'll be able to catch up and excel very soon. Good work, Lee!

(still, any ideas, suggestions, or even just encouragement would be welcome!)


Julie said...

My first two boys both have IEPs. Getting some focused help when they are young really pays off. I think you should do an evaluation with the school district-there are so many options available-special need preschool(Porter has been there for two years and he loves it), individualized appointments(this is what Andrew is doing), or even a small group kindergarten to help with the transition to school. Just remember that getting some help in no way reflects on your abilities as a mother. There just are professionals available to teach us skills that we might need. Sounds like you're on the ball though and Lee will do ok. Kids learn a lot when they are young!

kimber said...

I worked in the special ed class at Ellis and it was SO great. Some of the kids just needed a little extra help, so they would come for part of the day and practice one on one. Then they would go back to their normal class. We had kids come to kindergarten and not know any letters at all, so he's not a hopeless case by any means. It's hard to see them struggling, but if you you decide to get him an IEP I think he could catch up.

Laurie/Mom/Grandma said...

You are doing exactly the right thing and at the right time. It's important that kids get a head start at an early age. I think you should latch in to any help available. And of course we love you and Lee!

John and Anna said...

Oh Lisa, I can't imagine what a hard realization that is. Just as others have said though, you are doing just the right thing.

From my teaching experience, I had several ADD students in my 5th grade classroom over the years. Some had IEPs already in place and others I worked to get in place. The ones who already had them were much farther ahead than those I was working with to get them, and you almost couldn't tell there was any difference from the students right on track. As soon as they are in place they get the one on one attention they do need from their special ed class and the social from regular ed class also and they get all caught up. The sooner the better like everyone else has said though. Good luck! Lee is such a neat kid he'll be able to pull through anything. :) Especially with your help.

Angeli said...

It sounds like you're on the ball. There are lots of professionals who really do help. I can't wait to see Lee and Anna tomorrow!

Raychel said...

There is a really awesome family resource center next to Wilson Elementary on the Island. If you go in they give you a bag with stuff to learn to write your name, and prepare you for kindergarten. That got Shayden soooo excited about Kindergarten, and she's been writing her name better. Maybe Lee would like that too.