Tuesday, June 13, 2017

April 3rd- Daily Autism Post- Learning Differently

This morning at breakfast, I had to take a book away from Dex because he was distracted by reading and needed to finish up. That's a problem that every parent is secretly happy about! With Dex, though, I am overjoyed. Learning to read was hard and very frustrating for him because he works so differently. It took me a while to understand the problem.
One day, we were trying to sound out words. M O M... he sounded it out as Jammie. I finally got it. For him, groups of letters were processed as pictures. M O M could be Jammie, Mom, Mama... H O U S E could be house, home, building. He memorized what words looked like quickly but sounding things out was practically impossible. If I gave you a series of pictures and asked you to sound them out to form a word, you'd think I'm crazy and that I was trying to trick you. That's what it was for Dex. Once we figured that out, I talked to his psychologist for suggestions, and he gave us pages of nonsensical words to sound out that wouldn't put a picture of something in his mind. We also focused on learning how sounds come together so he could learn how to basically sound out the pictures. Reading can still be frustrating because we have so many exceptions to the rules, but he gets it now. He's even learning to enjoy it because he likes to learn and know everything. So....
The bad- Seeing the world in a different way can make learning hard. Sometimes people don't even begin to understand what he sees or why he's confused. Me included. That can make conventional classrooms difficult.
The good- He's incredibly smart and capable of learning; we just have to be flexible in how he is taught.
The BEST- Dexter has had some PHENOMENAL educators who don't force him to try to learn like everyone else does. He's pushed to learn, to be his best, and to work hard but in ways that make sense to him. And he's had administrators who believe in him and go above and beyond to give him what he needs to be successful. Conventional classrooms can be hard, but because of his team of people, he's succeeding!

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