Kate's "smart" board

Sunday, September 23, 2012



All the classes in Kate's school use smart boards and this year Kate really loves the smart board. They are basically a giant computerized chalk board.

Kate loves the "smart board" so much that she turned our mud-room chalk board wall into her own personal "smart" board this weekend. She is such a creative little girl and she comes up with stuff like this all the time.  She literally spent hours writing songs, maps and words on the chalk board wall.  I loved watching my little Katie "bloom" this weekend through her smart board.  It did this Mama's heart good.  

You see, tomorrow I take Kate to begin the testing process to look for possible learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, information processing, etc.)  Our hope is that nothing is wrong but my gut tells me that Kate is very smart in many ways but she keeps getting stuck academically.  I think she might learn a little bit differently than some.  I hate to see her struggle and become frustrated with things like reading and copying things from the board.

I am posting this for a few reasons.  Some people think we should wait to have Kate tested. Her own school cannot even test her this early. But I have no desire to wait a few more years when we could be helping her learn the way she learns best right now (once we learn how that is).  Luckily, her school is very willing to help Kate once we know what is going on.  They have been extremely supportive thus far.

I sincerely hope they will simply tell us that Kate is a late bloomer and it will all click for her in her own time. However, if they find anything else, I will move heaven and earth to help Kate learn the best way she can.  I would hate for years of lost time to chip away at her self esteem.   She is such a JOYFUL girl and I do not want her to lose that.


{she was working so hard in her pajamas and with her sweet bedhead}

It is really hard to photograph this mud room as it is basically a hallway with the opposite side being a built in seat, drawers, hooks and cubbies.  So, I apologize for the quality of the photos but I did not want to lose the sweet memory.


40 comments:

  1. I was the strange kid who made friends with everyone and was liked by everyone but could not take a test to save my soul. I got nervous and stressed out and just quit. Nobody realized what my problem was till like 8th grade when they started letting me take not timed tests. I am a hands on learner, I am not a book learner. I prefer to touch and feel then to read about others touching and feeling. Kate will be fine no matter what :) Now-a-days kids learn at all sorts of levels and ways. Late bloomers are awesome!!!

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  2. I think that it is a good thing to have her tested earlier. The earlier she gets help (if she needs it) the better. We are struggling right now with my 10 yr old 3 grader. I ended up having her tested for English as a second language. She came home when she was 4.5 yrs old and we held her back from starting kindergarten. She did great for the first couple of years of school (pre=k and kindergarten). She picked up English really quickly and was doing great. It was not until the end of 1st grade that I noticed she was really struggling. Her teachers kept saying she was doing great. They would say she understands things very well, but I just knew that was something else. Homework was a struggle (still is) and it seemed like she was making any progress. In March at her last parent/teacher conference I finally spoke up and asked about getting her tested for ESOL. She qualified. She was only a few points from not qualifying and I don't think they wanted to add her, so I had to push. She hates going because she gets separated from her class, but she gets one on one teaching and extra help with test. Good luck with all of Kate's testing. I pray things turn out well.

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  3. sweet kate...i love her bedhead and jammies. you are such a great mom kim and know to trust your gut when it comes to your kids...there is no doubt kate will thrive regardless of her test results. lucy will attend the reading lab at her school for the second year, and i am so grateful that this resource is available to her now so that we can give her the tools she needs to be successful in the future...kisses to kate and you!!

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  4. you are such a good mama. good for you for doing exactly what you think needs to be done. you are the mom and mom's always know best. good luck - will say a little prayer for Kate.... and you too. xoxoxo

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  5. kim- couple things for you!

    1) LOVE the new blog design, so simple yet strong...and, even though the social media piece freaks me out too, you look VERY "now".

    2) GOOD FOR YOU for having kate tested now. you're her mom and her biggest advocate- no matter the outcome, you're doing the right thing. don't doubt yourself.

    3) WOW. the NURTURED HOME sounds fantastic and i'm so happy that you're taking the plunge. it's a huge step and i'm sure it's scary but YOU CAN DO THIS!

    4) Have a super week!

    hugs-
    carolyn

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  6. What a beautiful photo of your precious little girl. Go with your gut! If you think she needs to be tested do not wait, as you say precious time will be ticking away.

    Have a great week! And good luck!

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  7. My sister had dyslexia, and my parents were discouraged in testing despite the fact my sister was more interested in playing than learning - in first and second grade, the teachers were sticking her in the corner with toys whilst they taught the other students (my parents were not happy). They did finally get her tested by an amazing team.

    After diagnosis, she saw a therapist (I'm afraid I don't remember what type - but it involved lots of games, things that engaged my sister. I remember being very jealous that I couldn't join in). She took part in therapy for about a year, and many of her academic issues began to fall into place. Kate reminds me of her when she was little - the sheer joie de vivre :)

    And in November, she graduates from university and is hoping to start her own business in the next few years :)

    So, yes, the earlier the testing, the better everyone can support Kate if she needs it.

    Sorry for the ramble - sometimes it helps to hear from people who have seen the other end of the tunnel. Good luck! (And your new blog design is beautiful!)

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    1. Lexy...Kate does indeed sound a lot like your sister and I am grateful that you shared your story. I do often wonder how Kate will navigate her way through school and university life and if that will be her path. So it is great to hear about others who have faced these things. THANK YOU for sharing!!!

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  8. I think its a smart idea..you have to be proactive in todays compeitive world. If you were lax and didnt' do it and waited three or four years....and then found out she has something, you would kick yourself for not finding out sooner. You must advocate for your kids in todays world more than ever......its become so cut throat and competitive and no one will look out for your kid like you will. You are so doing the right thing....she is such a cutie pie and deserves every opportunity! Best of luck and keep us posted....

    PS Did you change your blog look again? I like it!

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  9. Kim,
    We are in a similar position with Maggie. She struggled some in kindergarten last year. We went back and forth with the teachers, but ultimately decided to move her on to first grade. She is very happy so far and seems to be doing okay, but I still have concerns when I try to help her at home - especially with reading and writing. We were also discouraged from having her tested this early - the old "give them time" approach. We agreed to wait one 9 week grading period to see where things are, but I think that we will end up testing her sooner than later. I agree with your feeling that finding out what Kate needs early is better. Like you, I don't want everything to be such a struggle for Maggie. My older two boys never had to work very hard (thus neither did I) and I'm finding this to be one of our biggest challenges now. I'm not focused on her making perfect grades, but I desperately want her to enjoy learning and not find school to be a place full of frustration and failures.

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  10. Hi Kim, Kate is super cute with that "smart board". I think it is smart to go with your Mommy instinct. As a former ILA teacher, I saw many kiddos come through my classroom door in 6th-8th grade with comprehension problems that were never picked up which were so hard on the kids at that age, as the work load got harder for them. The test results as you know are not the end all and be all...on the flipside I had a few kiddos with IEP's and realized that they did fine in my classroom without accommodation...the IEP was really never tweaked since 3rd grade.
    Actually, I ran into one of my former kiddos (22 years old now!) and he told me that I was the only teacher he had that "believed in him" which is why he did well in my class. Talk about the world's best compliment EVER!

    You are doing the right thing by Kate and no matter what they say, she will thrive! Praying for you!

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  11. I hope Kate is just a late bloomer, too. I think you're right though to get a head start on this. No one else will advocate for your child....it's up to you and as a very experienced mom you already know that :) I love that Kate made her own smart board; how "smart" you were to put that up in your home? Good luck, Kim, I hope if nothing else you get some good reassurance that Kate is coming along just fine.

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  12. Good for you for going with your gut and having her tested. I also believe knowledge is power. She is such a sweet, vibrant and beautiful girl! Both my girl and her cousin (also adopted from China) have had some learning issues and have to work a lot harder at school than many kids. I have a tutor for Maddy and my sister also has one for her daughter and that has helped so much. Love her smart board! Hope you have a good day!

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    1. Thank you Janet...so few people talk about this that sometimes you feel very alone going through it. I appreciate your comment and insight.

      Kim

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  13. As a literacy specialist, I think you are wise to go ahead with testing. There is so much that can be done with an accurate diagnosis. Without it, we seem to throw a lot of "good ideas" at a kiddo and hope for the best. She is a little bit young, but I still think it is worth it and I would do the same exact thing if it were my Kate;) Let me know if I can help from afar!

    Blessings,
    Kelly

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  14. I would test her as well...better to start working on any issues now if they do arise. Hopefully she falls into the late bloomer category!

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  15. Glad you are following your momma instincts. better to have testing done now and help her before the frustrations gets so bad. This way you will be able to help her learn her way and succeed. Please let us know what you find out and will be sending good thoughts and prayers yours and kate's way.

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  16. There is nothing like a MOTHER'S INSTINCT. You know YOUR CHILD better than anyone. Good for you Kim. Wishing Kate all the best.

    PS Great Picture of Kate and her "smart board".

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  17. Definitely listen to your instincts! You know better than anyone what she needs. We have been down this road with our son and now we are facing some challenges with our youngest. She excels in reading and writing but math is turning out to be a real challenge. Since her reading and writing has never been an issue, we didn't really notice anything to be concerned about until this year. She is in 3rd grade and we changed schools this year. Turns out she is not on target with the new school's standards and her math challenges are holding her back as well. We have gone from being on Principal's Honor Roll to waiting for a meeting to assign her Student Support Team. It's pretty sobering but I know with the right help we will get through it. Like you, I know my daughter absolutely brilliant in so many ways and this is just a small glitch.

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  18. Kim-

    I just wanted to give you a ((((((hug)))))))) and tell you --you are an amazing momma!--

    You have to go with your heart and gut. My oldest son was diagnosed with Aspbergers this past year. I knew all along something wasn't right, but kept thinking he will be okay. Looking back I think I was in denial. Can I just tell you it was the best decision we ever made! Once we figured out what was wrong I began to understand all the repetive behaviors, routines, fixations, and sensory issues. I researched like crazy and got him into therapy twice a week. I felt so much more equipped as his mom to help him. He doing amazing right now --we also taught him how to recognize his own sensory issues and that has made a world of difference for him . Through God's grace we began to embrace autism... it is part of him and I love every part of him :)

    But anyway--I'm sorry follow your heart --You are a good momma and you know her best :) God will give you the tools to take care of the rest :) Blessing to you and your family xoxoxo

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  19. Kim-

    I just wanted to give you a ((((((hug)))))))) and tell you --you are an amazing momma!--

    You have to go with your heart and gut. My oldest son was diagnosed with Aspbergers this past year. I knew all along something wasn't right, but kept thinking he will be okay. Looking back I think I was in denial. Can I just tell you it was the best decision we ever made! Once we figured out what was wrong I began to understand all the repetive behaviors, routines, fixations, and sensory issues. I researched like crazy and got him into therapy twice a week. I felt so much more equipped as his mom to help him. He doing amazing right now --we also taught him how to recognize his own sensory issues and that has made a world of difference for him . Through God's grace we began to embrace autism... it is part of him and I love every part of him :)

    But anyway--I'm sorry follow your heart --You are a good momma and you know her best :) God will give you the tools to take care of the rest :) Blessing to you and your family xoxoxo

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  20. Good luck. J4 has always struggled with reading, although his problem is classified as "undefined reading disability". It was a tough road and there are a lot of things I wish we'd done differently, but he is in college now pursuing his love of art. Keeping our fingers crossed that it all works out...but he is also a very late bloomer as well. Sometimes you just have to keep that in mind and realize it might be a long time until they bloom! I'm still waiting!

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  21. Don't ever let anyone judge you on a parenting decision. You have your heart in the right place with your beautiful family... trust your instincts. Looks like you are doing great so far!!!

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  22. That first pic is pure sweetness. Good for you for following your mom instinct and getting answers sooner rather than later. Hope Ms Kate gets the teaching and nurturing she needs from her school environment to achieve all that great potential she has! Hugs to you all!

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  23. My son Kenny is dyslexic and Livi has some LD in processing. We had both of them tested in Kindergaten and 1st grade. Livi learns best with visual aides. She needs to see it. Feel it ... Taste it. When I homeschooled livi I bought several programs that were geared towards the visual student. The programs have been. Blessing for Livi and even though she is back in the classroom she still uses many of the programs ( both at home and in the classroom). Lots of luck to you !!!
    Colleen

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    1. Thanks Colleen. I think Kate is a multi sensory learner for sure.

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  24. Kim...I thought I would add this and see if maybe you or one of your readers knows if this falls into a learning disability "category"...Lucy has trouble learning lyrics to songs...she can memorize spelling words no problem, she is reading just right at grade level, but does attend a reading lab...however, it took her quite awhile to learn the pledge of allegiance and songs...songs that she has heard numerous times, she cannot seem to get, not even the chorus that is repeated.

    Thanks...this has been on my mind and something that I have been watching with Lucy :)

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    1. Dawn, I don't know anything about that but will be curious to see if anyone else does. Kate is the opposite...she memorizes that stuff so easily.

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    2. Learning a song requires auditory processing in the absence of visual cues, unless you're also reading the words. Learning spelling words is visual. She could have an auditory processing disorder, or she might just be a visual or kinestic learner. Try teaching her a song by having her read the lyrics, follow picture icons or by teaching her motions to go with the song and see how she does. It will probably give you a good idea if she just needs some different types of input.

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    3. Kristi...thank you! I will give some of these ideas a try and see what I notice...I really appreciate the feedback!

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  25. Wishing you the best as you figure out how to best help Kate!! I also have a June birthday and repeated kindergarten, mainly due to the fact I wasn't reading well. My mom said it really was like a light bulb went off one day and it clicked and I was quickly reading anything and everything. Hope it's the same for your girl!!

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    1. Cori---thank you...for some reason your comment brought me lots of peace.

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  26. I think you're doing the best you can to protect Kate's self esteem. You don't want her to get frustrated and feel bad about herself. I think you are so wise to figure out how she learns best so that you can make sure she flourishes. Kate is a bright, talented little girl. I think the US education system assumes all children learn the same way and they just don't.

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    1. Thanks Krsiti...I will e-mail you soon too but saw the movie. SO powerful!!!

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  27. precious bedhead. she is so loved! will be thinking of you all...donna

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  28. I love the pictures! My kids like their smart boards at school, too, and they love their dry erase boards at home. If we had a big, wonderful chalkboard like that poor Davis would be Mary Fowler's "student" all day, every day!

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  29. Please, please, please have her tested for Irlen Syndrome. My daughter is in 3rd grade and we have been on a journey since 1st grade. I just have a moment to comment, but feel compelled to respond, as several things you mentioned sound like my daughter. Irlen syndrome is by some considered hokey and not acknowledged for modifications in the public schools (luckily our being in private school they have made every modification). If interested I am happy to share more of her symptoms and tell you our experience. It has made all the difference for us!

    Sometimes the answer takes longer than you think so I applaud you for having her tested. Why wait? I think that much can be decoded by kinder, but understand some symptoms diminish with maturity. It may not get your finger right on the nose but it helps eliminate and educate you on how you can help as her parent. We are their champions, go with your God-given Mommy gut!

    As I told my husband, "I want our girl to be at her personal best, wherever that may be. My Mommy gut is telling me a piece of the puzzle is missing and we can find it and methods and tools to help us help her."

    I am sure you feel the same about you sweet Kate, and only want her to be the best version of herself.

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  30. Please, please, please have her tested for Irlen Syndrome. My daughter is in 3rd grade and we have been on a journey since 1st grade. I just have a moment to comment, but feel compelled to respond, as several things you mentioned sound like my daughter. Irlen syndrome is by some considered hokey and not acknowledged for modifications in the public schools (luckily our being in private school they have made every modification). If interested I am happy to share more of her symptoms and tell you our experience. It has made all the difference for us!

    Sometimes the answer takes longer than you think so I applaud you for having her tested. Why wait? I think that much can be decoded by kinder. It may not get your finger right on the nose but it helps eliminate and educate you on how you can help as her parent. We are their champions, go with your God-given Mommy gut!

    As I told my husband, "I want our girl to be at her personal best, wherever that may be. My Mommy gut is telling me a piece of the puzzle is missing and we can find it and methods and tools to her us help her."

    I am sure you feel the same about you sweet Kate, and only want her to be the best version of herself.

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  31. Would love to hear more of your journey about the learning disabilities. I have a 7 year old that is barely learning, and we are desperately looking everywhere for new information . We currently are on an assignment in South Africa, but coming back to the States in June. Thanks for sharing, Megan

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Thank you for your kindness.