Last night I had parent teacher conferences. I met with both boys’ teacher, Andrew’s Speech therapist, Isaac’s counselor (he receives counseling for play and social skills) and I visited the art, music and gym teachers too. Plus I saw some parents I know.
Here’s some things I learned:
1. Both boys are good at math. Honestly, I hear this a lot…and still…every time it surprises me. I don’t know why, but it does. There is a new math curriculum in the school and it’s been HARD…and Andrew does it, but it definitely challenges him. And I found out last night that she’s been giving him “enrichment” assignments. Every math lesson has a basic strand, a strand to provide support to students who need it and an enrichment strand for students that need challenging. So no wonder it’s been so hard!
2. Last year Andrew’s speech therapist and I started talking about his tendency to stutter. It doesn’t happen all the time, just when he’s thinking about something complicated and trying to get the words out. She told me to not bring attention to it, it’s normal, it will likely go away. But now she’s noticing it more. She thinks it might be increasing and she’s creating a plan in case she needs to intervene to help him with it.
3. Isaac is a handful! EVERY teacher I talked to brought it up. He pushes boundaries, tests limits, needs to know the teacher will set and keep the rules. He’s not just going to fall in line because he’s told to. His classroom teacher has him pretty much figured out by now and has lots of systems in place to keep him in line and on task. My favorite system she has is a visual meter that shows him when he’s too wound up (red!) or too low-energy (green…and NEVER happens) and how he wants to be at yellow…the ideal alert and ready-to-work mode. When he’s on red, there is a set of activities he can choose from to help him settle down. He choses three, spends only three minutes on calming down and then gets right back to work. I love this because it’s teaching him to self-regulate AND giving him tools to help him feel more settled. Some of the settling activities? Popping bubble wrap, steady, controlled jumping in the back of the classroom, wall push ups, one minute on the scooter board, writing on the smart board…and then, right back to work. He loves it and it works!
4. Isaac is doing really well with reading. It really seems like he woke up one morning knowing how to read. He has a HUGE vocabulary of sight words that he knows and he can sound out new words with pretty good accuracy…but…he can’t talk about what he read. Reading is only successful when you understand what you read. And we can only know that he understands it if he can talk about it. And that’s really hard for him. Lately I’ve been reading with him after school, excited about his new skill and ready to push it further. But now I feel like I need to slow down and just work with talking with him about books. So…I’m going to do that!
5. Right before I left I talked to the gym teacher who works with both of my boys. Andrew is easy-peesy during gym and Isaac is a handful. “those boys are like night and day!” he told me. Yes! I know! Soooo true! They have the same parents, live in the same home, have the same diagnosis…and yet…they ARE like night and day. I’m glad someone else sees that too. :)
and…COMPLETELY unrelated…but there are a few things I want to point out about this scrapbook page. The story here is all about Andrew’s love for spies…but the photos providing the supporting evidence crack me up. I LOVE the message he left for me using magnetic letters. I love what it says and I love how inventive he was as he started running out of letters. And, in the top left corner is a photo of Isaac with something on his forehead. What is that, you ask? Andrew wrote “Isaac” on Isaac’s forehead in invisible ink, and then illuminated it with a tiny black light to show me. I LOVE THAT! so funny, these boys!