Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yes, folks, he IS reading!

Our ABA therapist, Becca, came up from a decent session this morning and gave me an in-depth report about the fact that Joey is reading. Not on a sixth-grade level or anything, but definitely reading- three-letter words no problem, some longer ones. We think this is pretty darn cool. I was reading pretty good by his age, and so was my husband, but neither of us had any language issues.

This evening, I pulled out a new book for him to look at. It was about Cars, to catch his interest, but not one he had seen much of. I had read it to them once, but bedtime storytime is not an activity that usually including paying attention to teh mom reading a story, so I wasn't too concerned about him memorizing the thing from one reading.

I am not a teacher, and I know very little about how young children read or learn to read. I know there are two ways to read, sight reading (recognizing words on sight, rather than sounding them out) and phonetic reading (sounding out the words). In reading our new book together, Joey clearly has some words by sight (like "the" and "and" and "car"). Words he didn't know by sight, we worked on sounding out, and he tried sounding out. As far as I know, this is a normal way to read. What I found interesting was the attempts at sounding out. Joey is very familiar with letters and the sounds they make, However, he often made the sound for a similar letter, rather than the letter he was looking at. For example, looking at the word "slowly", he would try it as "slooty" or "stewly" or even "stowly". The inconsistancy of it, and the use of similar letters, was kind of odd to me.

But he got through! We read the whole book, and he was SO PROUD, and I was so proud of him! It was the coolest thing ever! When he really catches on to this, we'll have a another visual avenue of communication with Joey- and he'll have a new avenue for communicating with us! How cool is that?

Friday, August 24, 2007


I am thinking of trying to have a camping adventure with my guys, hopefully before school starts. Oobi has a camping episode, and Little Bear goes camping with Father Bear, and one of our Signing Time videos mentions camping, so there has been some interest in tents and things.

The question is how to do it. Camping even with non-autistic young children requires planning. First- inside or really outisde? To have this adventure inside requires clearing floorspace for the tent, but the plus is controlling the temperature and immediate access to such things as bathrooms, comfort objects, and the television. Not exactly camping, is it.

What is the point of this adventure? Exposure to new things, discussing the night-time, learning about nature. Ideally, we'd go out to Grandma's and camp in the woods, with a real campfire, seeing if Joey could deal with roasting marshmallows. Ther would be owls and wood ducks and deer and wild turkeys, as well as rabbits, squirrels, and plenty of trees and bushes.We could wade inteh river and look for crawdads and mussels and minnows. However, what about Joey wandering? If he got really uncomfortable, would Grandma's house be enough of a comfort? Or would he wander into the trees? What if he heard something that interested him? How would I find him? What if the river was a draw?

An alternative plan would be our own back yard. The yard is fenced. i'd need to get a chain and lock for the gate. But we'd be in the town. I suppose that's OK for a first adventure. Backyard it is.

I actually have a tent. Amazon had them cheap for a while. We could use the BBQ as a firepit for marshmallows. It would be kinda Oobi-ish. Now, what activities to keep the attention of small children until they pass out?

telling stories isn't really advisable, as they don't hold attention. Joey's tenuous grasp of narrative, sequencing, and language means he has a very difficult time following stories. Maybe soem kind of craft would be good early on, then marshmallows, and see if we can entice them with songs.

How would they deal with discovering that we are actually sleeping outside all night? That the bedtime routine will be altered? Willthis lead to meltdown, or controllable excitement? Do I have enough ASL to keep Joey focused and able to understand? Should I try to dig out the Oobi episode and talk about this? How far ahead?

It's not really the questions that are out of the ordinary- it's the answers. But we have to prepare, just like everybody else.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More insanity

Our special ed director retired this summer. I could write a whole post about the pros and cons of this, but right now, I'm just hopping mad about a con. There is some confusion about how his job is going to be filled, which has resulted in the person in charge of HeadStart beleiving they are in charge of the building- the WHOLE building- that HeadStart shares with ECSE. They decided HeadStart needed a room on the first floor for their 3-year-olds, so they moved one of the ESCE classrooms upstairs- and THEN informed the ESCE teacher that this had ALREADY HAPPENED. On top of that, this person won't even let them move all of their stuff- they have decided, for example, that the para doesn't need a desk, so did not approve moving the desk.

What the... ?

My buddy Jack is still in that room. Why they think it appropriate to move a child who cannot walk on his own upstairs is beyond me. If the elevator isn't working- and its use is already strongly discouraged- how will they access the cafeteria? The gym? The playground? What if there is a fire? Normal 3-year-olds can safel use the stair. Jack can't. They would have to carry him- putting more people in danger.

Angry, angry, angry. What a way to start a day. :(

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Just a little crazy

We're about to go into a crazy period here in JoeyWorld and AndyLand. My apologies if this results in spotty blogging. There are only 24 hour in a day.

I start back to teaching this week. Two sections online. Next week, I have a live double section. I love teaching live courses. Online ones, not so good. Online students have no qualms sending nasty emails- after all, they never see you, so you're just the faceless Establishment. Why put on a respectful face?

Then the boys start school. Joey starts on the 4th. Andy starts on the 11th. Let's hear it for school! Shame its a game of Russian Roulette. And I always miss my Joey- now I'll be missing my Andy, too. My boys are getting all grown up!

And now my mom is being told she has to have her gall bladder out now, now, now. I had mine out right after Joey was born (I was still in the maternity ward when it went bad- they forget to tell you how prevalent it is for recently pregnant women to have gall stones), so I suspect it will be at least a week before she'll be able to do things like walk around the house by herself, much less make food and take her sugar numbers. She has her first meeting with the surgeon on Tuesday.

So if I seem a little battier than usual...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I have returned!


I was thinking I was going to have more time to blog over the weekend. The hotel had access and everything. Silly me. But the time was not frittered. My husband figured out how to do video conferencing over the computer. I got to SEE and TALK to my boys each evening!!! How's that for Hero Husband? Go JoeyAndyDad!!!! Let's hear it for my Allan! ***CHEERS!!***

Unfortunately, my train was late and I didn't get to see the boys. I went in and smooched 'em anyway. How can one resist those sweet little sleepy heads?

We've gotten some red flags tossed up about school. We thought we had everything settled about kindergarden and his new teacher and stuff, and suddenly the messages we're getting is that the summer school teacher is going to have him and she "reminded" me that he needs to be registered. He's already registered, and I thought we were having the teacher I've been talking to already? Not good. We're really nervous. Not that the summer lady hasn't done OK, but she's not like the other teacher, and we were really excited about the other lady, really feeling comfortable and happy. Silly us.

We still don't know what "keem" is. It hasn't come up again.

But I'll keep you posted.