Thursday, February 24, 2011

Purple is our calm color!

Purple is our calm color! Yes, we are the Purple family!

I never liked Barney and that is who I associate when I think of Purple. Purple is also a color that my Grandmother for many years and I believe until even now thinks is my favorite color. Purple has never been a calming color or favorite for me.

So when we went for a screening to see how Aleq views words,  it amazed me that Purple is his calming color. It seemed like I would never escape Purple, so I need to embrace it.
I have known all year that Aleq was having issues with reading. It seemed to frustrate him more then anything and it was to the point that I was lucky to get one page read by him in his reader each day.
He knew his sounds, he knew his letters, and he knew how to sound them out. So what is the problem! A thought might come across that he is possibly being lazy or stubborn about reading. It was not a comprehension issue, he would understand no matter how long it took to read a sentence.
It was a different look in his eyes, you could see him trying but it really frustrating him as if it hurt his head.  Knowing he has SPD, I thought maybe he is not processing it! Ding a light went off....perhaps it is dyslexia!

So here I go to the library as always, when I have an idea about something. Grabbing all the books I can preparing myself to help him in anyway I can.  There was one particular book called "Reading by Colors" by Helen Irlen. It caught my attention because it had in the description about sensory issues. I read it and it made sense but I still was not really on board.
I had a homeschool mom, who I called because she was having issues with her son as well. She informed me of our local homeschool store that did the testing. I called and we went today. So Aleq has a a type of dyslexia called Scotopic Sensitiviy Syndrome, So does my husband!

So what is Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrom? It is more of a perceptual issue. Which makes sense because Aleq has gravitational insecurities as well.  According to Irlen, it involves the functioning of the eye. You may see the background flashing, or see colors in the background, letters fading, changing shape, or the resolution. It is frustrating trying to read with all that going on.
It was really amazing how after testing Aleq and him talking about the colors he sees. Then walking out to where my husband was and the tester mentioned that Aleq sees colors. My husband said " I thought that was normal". Jaime knew exactly what Aleq was going through. I could not see anything different, but they did.

This is how it affects you if you have Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and not know it:
  • you enery level is low
  • no motivation
  • low in work production
  • short attention span
  • writing is difficult
  • handwriting is not very legible
  • gross motor activites are affected
  • depth perception is off
These are just some of the clues....

Also according to Irlen, and I witnessed it there are five components:
  1. Light sensitivity - does not do well w/ flouresent lights or energy saver lights
  2. Inadequate Background -having issues with high contrasts between black and white
  3. Poor Print Resolution- the letter/numbers change, dance, vibrate, jiggle, move
  4. Restricted Span of Recognition - difficulty in reading letters, notes, numbers, or words at the same time
  5. Lack of Sustained Attention - can not focus or concentrate
The result is you will have an insufficient reader and an all-or-nothing attitude!

Aleq is to young to figure out what he really sees as far as how the words looked, check it out with the examples. Some words could look like rivers, shadows, jumping off the page or blurred. Jaime said he could see the words forming rivers. After coming home and talking with my mom, she admitted she sees shadows on all her words.  WOW!!

This has been a learning experience. I always thought dyslexia was seeing things backwards. That is farthest from the truth.

Where was I when this aired on TV! It is so worth to watch it. Amazing!

The way we are working through it right now is we use our Purple overlay and he read 4 pages with no problem. In about 6 months or a year we will go back and see how his progress is. Another method is we will use Purple colored paper for his school work. So I found Purple paper at Office Depot and will copy his Math U See and HWT work onto the colored paper. We will use Purple index cards for sight words to practice.  Oh, we changed our "energy saving light bulbs" back to the old type as well.

Now all of this makes sense, he never liked books with cartoons in them because it overwhelmed him. We also need to use more readers with just black and white drawings in them. I found a couple of Pathway First Step Readers to use. How cool is it listed on Cathy Duffys website!

I bought an overlay for Ashlie and my husband.

So now we are off on another journey.

More to live, love and laugh.....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

God's other green playground....

One of the things I learned about SPD children is they need their green playground. Nature was something that most of the children had in common.
What is a green playground? A playground rmade out of recycled material or on that is with grass?

A green playground is outside, nature, without manmade playthings...Kids focusing on what bug or bird is making a certain sound. It is amazing how kids really will focus on trees, birds, flowers, and bugs when you take time to show them. Let them explore the green playground that God has given us.

Children with SPD or children without, really benefit learning about nature. It does not mean let's go play in the mud, all the time, lol. My daughter does not like getting dirty. However, she can tell you anything about many birds, trees, and even bugs.  Animals of course are a big thing in our family.

SPD children tend to be able to really focus and not feel overwhelmed when playing in God's green playground. Maybe that is God's way of providing therapy for them.

Nature trails, prairies, or fields are not the only way to get the benefit of God's green playground.  The beach is another place as well.

Where we live we have the "Dike", it is the awesome since they reopened after Hurricane Ike damage. It is amazing and has been our second favorite place to play in God's green playground. The kids love to go out there to just explore. Sometimes we see the ships coming by, pelicans getting lunch or dinner, the shells, or just watching the seagulls. The kids love this kind of playground as well.

Snowy Egret

Our path onto the sandbar.
Some lovely seaweed and oyster shells with barnacles.

We talked about the salt in the water, why there were suds and the currants.

Just chillin and taking in all the learning...
This is a sandbar we found and went on, however, everytime the ships would pass there was not an entrance or exit to it.
The kids exploring.
Some of the ships in Galveston Bay...brought up the conversation of trade.
 A beautiful sunset...
Who made these footprints? Ashlie?
A Brown Pelican looking for dinner.

Ashlie just comes alive when she is exploring as well.
Aleq loving every minute of it. It is his therapy as well.

My point is, do not just settle for your backyard. Explore what is around your enviroment. Even stopping on the side of the road to see wildflowers, watching wildlife or even animals. You don't have to discover just your yard, there are many other options as well. The kids love to learn and you can learn with them in  the God's green playground.
   We saw a huge group of vultures. My husband turned the car around and we watched these vultures like we were on Nat. Geo Wild or explorers.
We counted a total of 16 all together..they were eating a carcass of a skunk.

This one is too cool to me, it look like it could just be one bird!

Yeah, some say we are crazy...but we love God's green playground.

Live, Love, and Laugh
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