Brains

Apr. 2nd, 2011 05:20 am
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It was 3rd quarter teacher conferences this week, and we had a good conversation with Casper's teacher and the Spectrum teacher.  She's really a fascinating creature, Casper is. A mix of things - brave in some ways, fragile in others (we had an awfulizing meltdown Wednesday night), capable of focus and extremely detailed work but often careless in her schoolwork. Spectrum teacher, whom I like a lot, noted that Casper does tend to march to the beat of her own drum, in terms of classwork as well as socially. She's unsure how to negotiate group work, and will sometimes wander off and just start getting things done by herself. When working alone, she is usually quite focused and confident.  Both teachers noted that she tends to approach problems in unusual ways - Mr. H noted that she almost always solves math problems through methods that none of the other kids use, and methods he hasn't explicitly taught, and Spectrum teacher noted the same sort of thing.  This is interesting to me and makes me glad she's in Spectrum where they can appreciate this - I think a lot of "gifted" kids at her school are like I was - wicked smart, precocious verbally and good readers and adept at processing and incorporating new information - whereas Casper in some ways really does "think different," even different from the average smart kid.  This could be a great benefit in her life, if she can turn it to her advantage.

Her reading is going fine - Fast ForWord does seem to be helping.  Mr. H talked about the program a bit - he's actually gone and used the software to see what it is like - and it generates reports that show things I've instinctively known for a long time - that she does often miss common and fairly simple words like when and were. She definitely has trouble with long vowels, too.  The program does some ear training exercises, with different tones, and also promotes focus.  I think there have been definite improvements.  I still worry that neither of the teachers were able to really have a conversation about what Casper struggles with about reading - what is it that makes this hard for her, and how can we specifically target strengthening it?  Spectrum teacher noted that most of the interventions for struggling readers are geared towards kids who are less generally intelligent than Casper is, and who often have other language problems alongside reading problems (Fast ForWord, for example, is especially recommended for kids with auditory processing problems, who often have limited vocabularies and are slow to talk - NOT Casper!!)  I'm almost to the point that I'd like to talk to a reading specialist, who has the background and experience to help me understand and explore what are the factors that make Casper struggle.  But, again, she's doing fine, grade-level work (except most of her Spectrum peers read well above grade level.)

I am having a week of depression and social anxiety, feeling isolated and generally low and anxious.  I cut all my hair off yesterday and didn;t even get much of the usual post-haircut boost that I do (you know, where you spend the rest of the day walking around going "I'm so cute!") It's spring and houses are going on the market and it's the time when Universities are making hires and people are planning moves and changes over the summer, and we have no idea what the plan is for the future.  Well, signing up for summer camp starts today, so I guess we just trundle forward.

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