"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cooperative Fun Learning

Here's a fun way to keep two age groups busy...

First - the back story.  My 3 year old son is superhero obsessed.  So much so that my pediatrician jokingly asked me if he owns more than one shirt.  The 3 year old was wearing his Superman Underoo shirt, AGAIN.  I explained, that no, he has four Superman Underoo shirts along with two batman Underoo shirts and two Spiderman Underoo shirts.  Most of them are hand-me-downs from his older brothers, but some are new.  Literally, that is all he would wear if I let him.  We've come to an agreement that he CAN'T wear a superhero shirt to church, but otherwise he can wear them.  He's now fond of wearing the Superman shirt under a button-down shirt so he can be just like Superman OR wear a turtleneck under the Superman Underoo.

My 11 year old daughter loves to draw.  One day, I needed both of them busy and SHE came up with this idea.  She drew a picture of random Batman images, including Robin, words in bubble letters like Zap and Pow all while the 3 year old told her what he wanted on the picture he wanted to paint.  She outlined them in Sharpie marker, then she colored them in with watercolor pastels.  She gave the picture to the 3 year old with a brush and water and he had a custom Superhero coloring page.

You could make a coloring book as a gift, if you are looking for a way for the older kids to gift the little ones.  You could also use watercolor colored pencils.  I've even heard you could make dots using washable markers.  What a nice way to get a big kid helping a little one!

This kept them busy for a good hour, with the big 11 year old helping all the way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Replacement Book for Boy's Book Club

One of the mom's in our Boy's Medieval Book Club suggested a great replacement for The Mabinogian for our last book.  She and her son just read Men of Iron by Howard Pyle.  I've started reading it and LOVE the fact that Myles' religion plays the primary role in his decision making.  It's the kind of book 10-12 year old boys need to read.  I've also read that it is a very good depiction of the training a squire received.  I'll provide a full book report when I finish.

Check List for Auditory Processing Problems

I promised I would include a checklist for Auditory Processing Problems.  I poked around and found one  from The Listening Program website.  It's exactly the same checklist our OT clinic used.  I've placed X's next to the items of concern with my target child.  It is on those items I will be judging their progress.  Here it is:

X 1. Difficulty paying attention
X 2. Poor short-term memory
X 3. Poor reading comprehension
X 4. Difficulties spelling
X 5. Low academic/job performance
X 6. Difficulty starting and/or completing projects
X 7. Easily distracted in presence of background noise
8. Is oversensitive to certain sounds
X 9. Misunderstands directions or instructions
X 10. Confuses similar sounding words
    11. Difficulty understanding jokes/puns/humor
X 12. Frequently asks “huh” or “what”
X 13. Difficulty discriminating sounds
    14. Flat and monotonous voice quality
    15. Speech lacks fluency and rhythm
X 16. Difficulty sounding out words
X 17. Mispronounces words
X 18. Difficulty summarizing a story/expressing thoughts
X 19. Hyperactivity
   20. Has poor posture, including slouching or slumping
   21. Has coordination problems
X 22. Difficulty with organization and planning
   23. Is overwhelmed with sensory information
   24. Confusion of right and left and/or location and direction
  25. Lack of tactfulness
  26. Poor social skills
X 27. Feels overburdened with everyday tasks
  28. Low stress/frustration tolerance
  29. Difficulty reading non-verbal communication
  30. Poor self-image or low self-confidence

Theraputic Listening and Auditory Processing Problems

Sorry for the long absence.  Life with six kids, three book clubs, Spelling Team, choir, preparation for First Confession, American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts and homeschooling has kept me plenty busy.  I'm happy to say we are on track with our school work (week 14) and we are looking forward to our school break during Christmas.

Now, on to the topic at hand.  Katherine Bowman, a Speech and Language Pathologist has this to say about Auditory Processing Disorder:
An auditory processing disorder (APD or CAPD) is a disorder in “how” auditory information is processed in the brain. It can be thought of as a “listening disorder” not a hearing disorder. The problem is in the brain – not in the ear.

The symptoms of APD are extremely varied, however, some of the most common are:
  • Children who say “huh” or “what” frequently
  • Children who don’t look or respond when their name is called
  • Children who give slow or delayed responses to people talking to them
  • Children who mispronounce typical word sounds
  • Children who have difficulty following oral directions
  • Children who misunderstand what is asked or said to them …these children usually answer off topic or don’t answer at all.
  • Children who are easily distracted or become confused especially when there is background noise
  • Children who avoid loud noises (cover their ears) even around common household noises
  • Children who show delays in acquiring language
  • Children who evidence difficulty learning phonics, reading and spelling
Symptoms of APD can actually be seen in infancy, however, they usually become noticed at about age 18-24 months.

APD can not be formally diagnosed by an audiologist until age 7 years, when the auditory system has maturated (fully developed). However, by age 5 speech-language pathologists, audiologists and/or psychologists can administer a sound based screening test along with auditory based language tests and determine if the child is “at risk” or “showing signs of APD.” 

I believe that one of my children is experiencing auditory processing problems.  Said child has difficulty hearing certain sounds in words (phonetic awareness) as well as reproducing certain words.  Mispronunciation is a common indicator of this problem.  It also will manifest itself in their ability to spell and read.  Attention issues, due to auditory distraction, can show up as well.

I used this program as part of an Occupational Therapy program with my oldest two.  My son's inability to see properly affected all his senses.  It heightened his sensitivities such that he was having  a hard time functioning in the world.  Everything was too loud, too smelly, too itchy-scratchy-twisted-wrinkled-hurt.  My daughter has a food sensitivity that was affecting her as well.  She probably didn't need the therapy, but she wasn't going to let him do anything without her

The logic behind the program seemed sound to me, so we decided to make the tremendous investment and use it.  We saw results right away.  It was astounding, but like all OT and Vision Therapy programs, it took diligence.  The child needed to listen to the program at least half an hour a day, five days a week for eight weeks.

The program we used was The Listening Program- Guidebook and 8 CDs.  We also invested in some top-the-line headphones.  The right headphones are important because the specially-created compact discs produce sounds at a high frequency that many headphones can't carry to the user.

So, we've started this program with my 7 and 5 year old children and I've convinced my 12 year old to try it again, too.  He was all to happy to include in his school day a half hour of time to play with Legos!

I'll post bi-weekly with results. When I have time, I will post some common indicators, used in our OT center's evaluation process to determine if a child has Auditory Processing issues.