Thursday, September 6, 2007

The "eyes" have it

I've been reading another blog where their second grader is struggling with reading, too. It's made me think about all of the decisions we've made regarding Sofie over the last year or two. All in all, I think we've made the best choices at the time. Of course the old adage, Hindsight is 20/20 does apply. However, I think all in all, she's doing great.

She's shown such tremendous change since starting the meds for ADHD. Her teachers have commented and given us wonderful feedback. They're even calling her a leader in the class now. They confessed to us just the other day that at the beginning of last year, they weren't quite sure what to do with her. It was nothing behaviorally, but more a lack of skills that they thought a first grader should have. Her handwriting was atrocious, her reading was well below grade level. She seemed to get stressed or unnerved at having to do things she just didn't know how to do. Intelligence was never a question, though. Remember she's the one that told her kindergarten teacher during an assessment when asked "what happens when you go into a dark room?" Acceptable answers were "look under the bed for monsters", "turn on a light", "ask mommy for help"...our little smarty replied, "Your eyes dilate!" Duh. At that point she had her teachers hooked. Charming, smart and lovable...just that pesky vision issue and her wiggliness to hinder her progress. Well, the wiggliness has been taken care of. Her focus at school is apparently much improved. So much has changed that she even gets to sit by her best friend at circle time because they don't laugh and giggle during class anymore! Cool.

Her vision issues, well, that's another story. Because she was a preemie, she has a condition called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia(ONH). Fortunately, she only has it in one eye, not both. There's not a whole lot of information out there, but you know if it's there, I've found it! I'm compiling a list of articles and resources for her teachers and IEP team to reference when coming up with this years learning plan for Sofie. It's becoming more apparent, as she feels more comfortable reading, that her vision issues are indeed impeding her progress and interest in reading. I've caught her several times being able to fully read large signs out in public. In fact, I was joking with her one day and said, "Ah HA! I see what's going on're tricking us into believing you can't read when in fact you can read JUST fine!!" She grinned and retorted, "I can only see the BIG letters. The letters in books are too small!" At least now she can say what's going on. In the past, she'd just throw the book down in disgust and walk away. Hopefully we'll get this issue resolved and her reading will take off!

Update**** After reading some of the information I've found I'm a little concerned we're behind the eightball on this. We've been so proactive with much of her other needs, it seems we may have neglected the most obvious issue. I'll dig further and I'm sure we'll come up with a plan.

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