Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our Special Ed Boy

Last Friday we finally met with Noah's special ed teacher and his new speech therapist to go over a new IEP (individualized education plan).  His special ed teacher has been working with him at his pre-school and has been giving us weekly written reports of how he's doing.  The speech therapist did a 45 minute evaluations of him a couple of weeks ago.  We feel that both of them have a pretty good handle on who Noah is and where he's at.  Now in addition to the help at school, he'll be doing 30 minutes a week of regular speech therapy. 

One funny thing he did with the speech therapist was when he was no longer interested in the task she wanted him to do, he put his head down, said "sleep" and pretended to be asleep.  Heh.  His special ed person said one time during a book reading he just very, very slowly turned around until his back was to her.  We think it's amusing how he finds nice ways to protest. 

When we started all of this before the last school year, Noah was about a year behind on speaking.  He's made tons of progress, but he's still about a year behind.  He's excellent at labeling things - saying what things are, and at repeating certain phrases we use with him a lot, and at repeating just about anything we say.  But when it comes to spontaneously speaking, it still comes out mostly in jargon we don't understand. 

Ching and I think he's better at understanding us and at following directions than his teacher might.  She said he's not so good when he's asked to "point at..." or "show me..."  but those are two phrases I don't think we've ever used with him, so I understand why he doesn't know them. 

Sometimes it's odd to realize things we don't do with Noah that I guess are common - like the point at or show me. 

He knows his colors, numbers, shapes and alphabet - but we've never actively taught any of it to him.  He's learned it 90% through videos.  We know he has a great memory.

On that front, last night we drove past the place he went to a swim birthday party last summer.  He saw it and said "water, water" and really wanted to go in there.  We had an errand to run first, but let him go in and see the other kids.  He was so upset he couldn't get in the water.  We wouldn't have guessed he remembered it, or would want to do it again.

His regular teacher says he is one of the kids in his class who really seems to want to learn things and takes interest in new things. 

I have a feeling that his language delay might be masking just how smart he is.  (Or not, it's hard to really know.) 

Of course, the biggest question we have is why.  Why is this seemingly specific part of language so hard for him.  I'm not sure there's an answer. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Parent/Teacher Conferences and IEPs

Last Friday we had our very first parent/teacher conference.  It was scheduled for 15 minutes and ran at least 45, that was good.  A lot of that time was his teacher explaining what she does in the classroom and why.  I really appreciated that.  My lack of love and trust of public schools should be well known.  So I was happy to hear that, as it should be, this class is all about play and learning through play, and learning though routine.  Also happy to hear that she's really flexible with her lesson plans - that if the kids sort of collectively are into dinosaurs one week, and her lesson plan was something else, she'll find something on dinosaurs for them.

Noah is still so, so happy to go to pre-school.

On the days he doesn't go to school, he still wants to go to the park in the mornings.  Poor kid, he's so sad when we get there and there aren't any other kids to play with.  Add it getting pretty cold this week, and he was a little bummed out yesterday morning.  (We went to the park at 9:30 a.m. and it was 45 degrees with a breeze from the north.  Brrr!)

This morning we met with Noah's development person (not sure what else to call her, she works with him at the pre-school) and his new speech therapist person to go over his new IEP.  We feel they both really have a good handle on who Noah is, where he's at developmentally, and how to work with him.  He's still about a year behind when it comes to some aspects of language acquisition and expression.  But other than that he's a sweet, smart, social boy!

Oh, the best thing to come out of the parent/teacher meeting was learning that they line all the kids up and do potty time, one at a time, and that Noah is getting the hang of pulling his pants up and down, peeing in the potty, and washing his hands!  We knew he'd started washing his hands when he got the chance.

So this week we've started doing more potty times with him.  A month ago we didn't think we'd ever get started on potty training, and here we are!!  I don't expect a fast development, but this is a great start.  He doesn't even require rewards - he just loves to be told "good job" and to be clapped for!  It does suck that this is happening during winter with the harder to take on/off clothes.

One other fun thing.  Noah is a BIG fan of Sofia the First.  He's been listening to the soundtrack and watching the episodes for quite a while.  We decided to be nice and order him a Sofia the First storybook.  I've always said it really helps boys to read of you find a topic they're interested in.  And there's a whole genre of "fart" books for boys.  Well, for Noah it was his first princess!  He's starting to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates as well.  We'll have to find that sort of storybook, too.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Shutdown Getaway

Due to the benevolence of Mother Nature and a very messed up government, we found ourselves with some time off, unseasonably warm weather, and cheap, off-season hotel rates.  So, we did what any rational people would do - went to the beach!

It's about a four hour drive to Ocean City, Md.  One of the nicer benefits of the shutdown (other than time off) is a real lack of traffic around here!  We picked Noah up from pre-school Wednesday at noon, finished getting packed, and off we went.

We were on the beach before dinner time!  Noah was hesitant at first, and he still won't get in the water because the waves are too loud.  There was a lovely family with five kids that Noah decided to hang out with after running up and down the beach for a while.  They had some shovels and he moved a lot of sand around.

I was smart and got two queen beds, one for me and one for Nerdstar and Noah.  heh.  He was really tired and even though we forgot his glow worm, went to sleep pretty well.

The funniest thing he's done in a long time - around 4 a.m. I just happened to hear him say, very clearly, "JELLO" and keep on sleeping.

We've joked lately that Nerdstar spent the entire pregnancy giving Noah food updates about what she ate every day.  Now, with his limited vocabulary - at least 65% of it is food words.  His teacher also said he loves to play with the kitchen in the classroom.

At 6 a.m., Noah was wide awake and repeating "water" which meant he was ready to go back to the beach right then.  I had to show him it was still dark outside and we couldn't even see the water.  (We had at least a partial view of the ocean from our balcony.)  We were at the beach around 7 to see most of the sunrise.  Way too early.

We ended up being done with the beach and back on the road about 11 a.m.  We had seen that there was a little conservation zoo on our route, so we went there.

I think it's impossible to overstate how social Noah is.  There were groups of school kids there and he totally ran off and left us to go join them!  He would walk with them to various exhibits and then get right in the middle of the group to see what was going on.  When that group went on to something else, he'd walk with us a little, and then go join another group.  Both us and the teachers were just laughing.

It was a really nice trip, especially because we never got around to doing it during the summer.